ANSWER—Dante was a great poet, but as to the exact date of his birth and death I do not know—it was some centuries ago. Dore was a great Catholic artist who lived nearly a hundred years ago. They were both very prominent Catholics, and no doubt very honest.
Q199:2 QUESTION (1911)—2—Please explain Matt. 8:12, "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." "And then said the King to the servants, 'bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth'." What does this mean?
ANSWER—We will treat these two texts together, as they are very much alike. We answer, it is not like purgatory, because purgatory is full of fire, and it could not be very dark there. This is outer darkness, and purgatory is inner light, and inner fire, is it not? It could not be the hell-fire of our Protestant view, either, because the hell-fire of our Protestant view is very light and bright, and hot. It would not he outer darkness, it would be inner light, wouldn't it? Sure it would. We have been forgetting what we were doing when we read our Bibles. What does it mean? It means this. The Lord is here not speaking about the world at all; he is speaking about his church, and those who are faithful will be in the light, in the light of knowledge, in the light of understanding, in the light of appreciation of God's plan. As the Scriptures declare, none of the wicked shall understand; the wise shall understand. As the Scriptures again say, "The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence him, and he will show them his covenant." They will be in the light, and they are called in the Bible, children of the light. Now the Lord in these parables is speaking of some who in the end of the age, not being faithful to their privileges and opportunities, will be rejected from the light, will be cast into outer darkness. Where is the outer darkness? Why, the outer darkness is everywhere. There is a lot of it in heathendom, and there is plenty of it here in Portland; and if any of us who are God's people do not walk carefully, circumspectly, and in harmony with his Word, we will not continue to be children of the light, nor continue to be favored by the Lord with further light on his Word, but will be cast out of this favored condition, bound hand and foot in the sense that we will not be able to control ourselves; it would not be optional with us whether we stand in the light or not, because the Lord would force such a one out of the light; he would not be allowed to stay in the light at all.
ANSWER—Well, I can see a great many ways in which David was not a man after God's own heart, but in what sense was he? I answer, in this sense: In spite of all his weaknesses and imperfections, his heart was full of loyalty and faith toward God, and his desire was at all times to do [Page Q200] God's service. With his mind he served the law of God, as the Apostle Paul says. We know that David made some very serious, very grievous mistakes, and he bitterly repented. It was in the sense that he still loved God and strove continually to attain to God's ideals. You and I, dear friends, want to have the same disposition; not that we are like David, however. No two of us are alike; we are all different. Loyalty to God, faith in God, and a disposition to serve Him is what will please God. You and I must remember that we possess advantages over David; he lived under a different dispensation, a member of the House of Servants, and not of the House of Sons. We, on the contrary, have much advantage everywhere because we are of the new dispensation, begotten of the Spirit, and have the mind of Christ. We should be still more after God's own heart, and we should have still higher standards than David had or practiced.
ANSWER—We have no deaconesses at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, at the present time, but we have had previously and thought some good was served by having them. There is no use in having servants, unless there is something for them to do, nor unless the persons are fitted for that work. The word Deaconess signifies a female servant. In the event of sickness amongst the sisters of a class it might be necessary for somebody to go and help and care for them. Or some in distress need to be visited and the brethren may not find time that they could give to that work. Sisters could render such services whether chosen Deaconesses or not. It is not contrary to the Lord's Word to elect Deaconesses. If a class finds that it has need of such servants there seems to be full authority in the Scriptures for electing them, but they should be very carefully selected that they would represent the Church fairly and favorably as to moderation in their judgment, in their demeanor and dress, marked examples of the Spirit of the Lord amongst the Sisters, and who fittingly represent the general interests of the Church in any work they might be called upon to do.
ANSWER—I did not read that question just as it was written. I would explain the verse and say that in God's view of matters, Adam was alive when he was in harmony with God, and that Adam's dying began immediately when he was thrust out of Eden under the divine sentence—"dying, thou shalt die;" that he was dying for 930 years; and, similarly, when the reverse process shall begin, instead of dying for 930 years, he will be getting more alive for 930 years; for the entire period of Messiah's reign the world will be getting more alive, and more alive, and more alive, but they will not be alive until they are perfect. And in one sense of the word we might say they will not be alive until Christ as the [Page Q201] mediator shall turn them over to the Father and he shall have tested them respecting their worthiness or unworthiness of life eternal. Then I might or might not, according to the person and the circumstance, say that this verse is not in the original manuscript, or oldest manuscript; but that so far as we know, it is an interpolation. But it is just as well not refer too frequently to interpolations, because people have an idea somehow that you are trying to dodge something and where the passage fits in so well as this does with very many others I would not make any explanation except merely how they will be getting life and not be fully alive until the end of the thousand years.
ANSWER—Our understanding of that statement of Isaiah's testimony is that, the sinner at that time, if he is a willful, deliberate opposer of God and his Kingdom, will not be suffered to live more than one hundred years. It does not guarantee that he must live a hundred years, but he must die at a hundred years. He may die sooner than a hundred years if sufficiently willful and disobedient, but he may prolong his life even if in a measure disobedient for one hundred years, but no longer.
ANSWER—I answer, dear friends, there is no way to the Heavenly Kingdom, except by being born again. Can children be born again? Can children be begotten of the Holy Spirit? If they could not be begotten of the Holy Spirit, they could not be born of the Holy Spirit; so you see, the whole matter is a very simple one. The child belongs to the earth; it belongs to Adam and his race; it is a member of his race. If God wished it to have had the opportunities of the elect, He would have allowed it to live and come to a knowledge of the truth, and thus to justification, sanctification and begetting of the spirit. But you see when the Lord allowed the child to die in infancy, it was not one of those whom He intended should be favored with a knowledge of this High Calling, and that is a large proportion of the race. Now, what will be their position? They will come forth as they went down, of the earth earthy. But some one will say, "If I belong to the spirit class, and of those who have part in either the Little Flock of the Great Company on the spirit plane, what chance would I have to care for my little ones?" Well, my dear brothers and sisters, do you not suppose your little ones will still be under supervision, as if you were an earthly parent? Do you not suppose that those heavenly ones, who are Kings and Priests with Jesus, and have all power in heaven and earth, will have power to take care of their little ones on earth? And there will be many who will be glad to take care of your little ones, they are serving those who have gone before, and who belong to the Priesthood class. [Page Q202]To our understanding, the coming back of these from the tomb will be in the same condition in which they died, without any particular change, and the little ones, therefore, will come back to much more favorable conditions than at the present time in the world.
ANSWER—I answer, dear friends, that God never intended that death should be a pleasant thing for us, and the wiser you are, the less you will like death, of itself; it will have more horror for you. The way to overcoming it is by full submission of our minds to the Lord. There are some things that we will never like all our lives. You might take a dose of very bitter medicine, and without making very many faces either, if you made up your mind that it was the right and proper thing to do. You would say, Well, I am going to do it, and you do it; but if you allow yourself to go over it and look at it too long, and try to swallow it two or three times, you will get pretty sick of the matter. The right way to do is to say, it is the Lord's arrangement, and it is a part of my covenant to lay down my life in the Lord's service, even unto death; so Lord, I give the whole matter to you, I have taken the whole matter out of my hands entirely and I am reckoning myself dead now, so Lord I will leave the whole matter for you to bury me and for you to raise me up. The whole thing is in your hands. After you commit your way to the Lord, it will taste and feel far less bitter. While death and the dying processes are not to be rejoiced in, yet you are to realize the Lord's providential care, and that He is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him, and we should not sorrow as those who have no hope. We might sorrow some for death, but not as others, because we have the blessed hope; and the stronger your faith grows the less dread you will have of death; and the stronger your knowledge of your consecration becomes, the stronger your faith will be.
Q202:1 QUESTION (l907)—2—Please explain Luke 20:35,36: "But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God being the children of the resurrection." Please explain the clause, "They can die no more, because they are like the angels."
ANSWER—This is the Common Version translation, which is preferred in this case. We do not prefer the Common Version every time, but we prefer it as a rule, to any other version which we know. There are some passages upon which the Diaglott translation, and some upon which the Revised Version gives us more light, but taken as a whole, we like the Common Version. And the Common Version says, they are like unto the angels, neither can they die any more, and that is the way I think it is intended to be read and understood. My understanding is, this is applicable both to the Church and to the [Page Q203]world. It is applicable to the Church first, because it is to be dealt with first It is applicable to the Church in this way, that when the time comes for our change, and we have had our resurrection change, the first resurrection, the resurrection to glory, honor and immortality, that will make us children of the resurrection in a special sense, more than any others, because this is the highest and everything else in the nature of a resurrection would necessarily be subservient to this which is the highest and most wonderful of all the resurrections God had purposed. There is one resurrection of the Church, and another of the ancient Worthies, to perfection and then, as we saw last night, there is a resurrection to judgment for the world, by which they will gradually come into harmony with the Lord. But now, we will apply this first to the Church. When we have been changed and are spirit beings, we will not die any more; if we have immortality we cannot die any more. And we would be like the angels, for the angels do not marry; and so, in this respect, the Little Flock in the resurrection will not be male and female. While spoken of as the Bride of Christ, we are not to get the thought that they are feminine, but rather it is only a picture which represents the beautiful relationship between the Bridegroom and the Bride. And, again, we have the thought of Christ as the Head over the Body, and we as members of the Body,—another beautiful picture. You know all of this represents our Lord as being the chief. Angels are not male and female, and in speaking of them we would not use those terms; we would prefer not to speak of them as either, because they are without sex. That is easy enough as respects the Church.
Now as to the world. When by the end of the Millennial Age the world shall have come up, up, up, out of degradation and sin, and got back to the place where Adam was originally, then all necessity for the male and female condition in order for the propagation of the race having ceased, they will be like unto the angels in that respect. Originally Adam was not male or female, but God separated woman from his side, and made our race male and female; but after God's whole purpose has been served, and Christ has taken the place of that one man, and has redeemed all that came out of him, then the sex distinction, having served its purpose, will cease. Our understanding is that then the race will be like unto the angels in that respect. And neither will they die any more; they will be perfect. So when the race is brought back to perfection, and after all have been tested at the end of the Millennial age, as many as love righteousness will have everlasting life, and the balance will be destroyed from amongst the people. God is pleased that the righteous shall live forever and enjoy all of His blessings throughout eternity.
ANSWER—I understand that they will, that the promise of eternal life was never made to any earthly creature except man, and to man because he is in the image of God, because he is the lord of earth. I understand that all the lower animals will continue to die all through the Millennial Age just as they did in the past. Brother Wesley was mistaken when he said that the creature itself shall be delivered. Brother Wesley missed the point, [Page Q204]he got to thinking of dogs, and cats and horses.
God made them as brute beasts. They live their little span of life and they die, but in the case of man, we see how God has redeemed him from destruction because he is so much better than the brute. I have often thought it strange that a man who could sympathize with the brute creation could ever believe that God would consign millions of human beings to eternal torment.
ANSWER—After his death he is dead. He is waiting for God's time when He will, through Christ, bring him forth from the dead, and all who have gone down, not that he is conscious of it any more than you and I when we fall asleep at night. The world knows nothing in the interim. Their sons are brought low and they know it not, and they are honored and they perceive it not of them. There is neither wisdom, nor knowledge, nor device in the grave (sheol) whither thou goest.
ANSWER—I do not account for it at all; you can have a smile at any time. A certain professor made examination of a number of death-bed scenes regarding the facial expression, etc. Some faces expressed joy, some pain, but the great majority gave no sign at all. It is no proof of anything; because when people die, they have their organs specially quickened. Some people who have a fever have their minds very much stimulated and will tell you of visions, etc. We are not following cunningly devised fables, but are following the Word of God. Some of the best of the world die without smiling. I will tell you of one who died without a smile; His name is Jesus.
ANSWER—The only death the Bible speaks of is a human death. The scriptural declaration is that God gave Adam a trial at the beginning, but when he failed, he failed for you and for me. If anyone is to have an opportunity for eternal life, it must be through a second chance, because the first chance was lost through Adam. The second chance begins with the Church because we have a hearing ear.
ANSWER—My understanding is this, dear friends: That the time of trouble will, so to speak, paralyze the whole world, and that is the time mentioned in the 46th Psalm, where the Lord, after speaking of this time of trouble, says He will break the bow and cut the spear asunder and say, Be still and know that I am God. That is the first great lesson that the world [Page Q205] will learn—"Be still!" They have been running hither and thither and learning about evolution and everything but the Lord's Word. They should have learned this lesson long ago that, "The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom," and to know that He is God. They will have to take a little time to get still. God does not wait for them to recover, but begins the new order of things. The Ancient Worthies appear and Israel under the New Covenant arrangements, and when they are established the other nations will see their blessings and prosperity under God's supervision, and will see that they have the Ancient Worthies, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, etc., and they will say, "Let us go up to the mountain of the kingdom of the Lord." See how He is teaching the Jews, "He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths, for the law shall go forth from Mount Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem," and "the desire of all nations shall come." They will begin to see that this is what they have always desired. God's government, peace, prosperity, to enjoy life, etc. They will see that the only way for them to get God's blessing will be by coming in under the New Covenant arrangements through Israel. If they do not, God will not recognize them, and as the prophet says, There shall come no rain upon them. Is that literal rain, or in the sense of blessing? Perhaps both. The Lord is going to use all the powers and forces of nature to give lessons and instructions, and He will call for the corn to increase, and for the wilderness to blossom as the rose. The whole earth will he at the command of the Lord, and everyone that doeth righteousness shall he blessed, and he that does not shall be punished, and then the whole world will learn that righteousness pays. Some people now do not think it pays to be honest, but they will then, for they will be blessed, and any out of harmony with God will receive some kind of chastisement that they may all be brought to God and be lifted up out of their death conditions.
When will Adamic death cease? It will be going on in these fallen natures. God's blessing will come as a result of the New Covenant, and only those who are under the New Covenant will get God's blessing; it will begin with Israel, and then as the other nations see the blessings of Israel and realize that the blessings come because of their relationship with God, they, too, will want the blessings and will want to come under the New Covenant arrangements.
How soon after the time of trouble? It will depend upon how soon those nations come to a knowledge of God, for there will be no way of getting life except through the Son—that is the rule now, and will be then—"He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son shall not see life."
I understand that things will go on in a natural way. First of all, those under the New Covenant arrangement, after they begin to line up, will have higher aspirations and nobler qualities of mind, and births will be fewer and fewer, so that at the end of the Millennial Age, births will entirely cease, and there will gradually be a change in the human family corresponding to the change in the beginning, only in the opposite way, when God separated Mother Eve from Adam's side. Our understanding is that the whole human family will be as Adam was before the separation. It will [Page Q206] not mean that the sisters will be blotted out, but that they will take on the other qualities, and men will take on the more gentle qualities. The perfect life will represent the gentler qualities as well as the stronger qualities, so that both men and women of the Millennial Age will be perfect, as Adam was before Eve was brought forth.
ANSWER—Yes, I think they will; that is to say, the Gospel age coming to an end, and the new dispensation beginning, it will be the beginning of the opportunity of the world to step out of the Adamic death into restitution life. But the world will not generally believe at first; it will take a little time before this knowledge will come to them. It will not be done like a flash. It will begin with Israel, according to the Scriptures, and as the Israelites come to a realization of the new dispensation, and as the ancient worthies will come back to them—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., and all the prophets—when they shall appear amongst men as perfect samples of mankind, and as the princes of the Lord in all the earth to represent the glorious Messiah amongst men, the Jews will be the first to recognize the matter and respond, and then the blessings of restitution, life, and strength will gradually come to them. And as all the other nations begin to see this, they will want some of these blessings. So, you remember how the prophet expresses it. He says, "The law shall go forth from Zion"—that is, the Messiah, Jesus and the church in glory—"and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." That will be after Israel is in favor with God. "Many nations shall come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord's house, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." They will see how the Jews begin to walk in the Lord's paths, and see the blessings he will give them, and these will say, "Would not the Lord be pleased to give us Gentiles something too, if we would walk in his ways?" And God will be just as willing to give blessings to all the nations. He has merely arranged that the blessings shall come first to Israel and shall proceed to all nations. That is just what the Jews have been expecting in all the centuries in the past. There is nothing in the Jewish law or prophecies that has led the Jews to expect to be in the heavenly or spiritual class.
ANSWER—First of all, what is meant by the spirit? We answer that the word spirit in the Hebrew is ruach; it signifies the breath, the breath of life. When God formed man, we read he breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives—plural, the breath that is common to all lives. In other words, man has the same kind of breath exactly that a horse has. The difference between man and brute is not that a man has a different kind of breath, or spirit, but that he has [Page Q207]a different kind of a body and the difference between human bodies we can readily see. Here is a man with one shaped head, and another man with another shaped head. Bring in a phrenologist and he will describe the two men to you very accurately just by the shape of their heads; he will not describe the difference between the men by the breath; the breath will determine nothing, the body will determine the whole matter. Imagine a man with a dog's head on, and the phrenologist will tell you that the man will think exactly as the dog thinks; and the more like a dog's head it is shaped, the more his reasoning will be after the line of the dog's reasoning, because a man does not reason with his feet—or ought not to—but he reasons with his head, and according to the shape of his head his reasoning is bound to be. So when God gave life, or breath, to the dog, the dog lived, and begat other dogs and they lived. When God gave life to man, man lived. We read, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life—that breath that is common to all lives, and man became a living soul, a living being. And so man then reproduced his own kind, and you and I are children of the first man. He has handed down that spark of life, that breath of life, from his day down to where we are today, and you have part of that same breath of life that God gave originally in a spark to father Adam. He has now renewed the spark, he has not given a fresh spark to anybody. Man came under the sentence of death and that meant that the spark of life would go up. When Adam died, the breath that God had given to him, what became of it then? The body returned to dust, and what became of his life, his right to live, his breath? He no longer had any control of that, it was back in God's hands. And his son had a little bit of it, and as soon as he died he had no further claim on it, it was back in God's hands. So with all of us from Adam down; as we die we give up all our rights to life. None of us could say, I have a right to live, and I have something I have lost and may get back again. If you ever get back life at all, my dear brother, it must be through the Life-giver. We have all lost everything once through the first Adam's disobedience, and the only way to get life again will be through the great Life-giver; and God has appointed that Jesus shall be the great Life-giver. The church is now getting life under the special terms of the high calling of this age, but in the next age Jesus will be the great everlasting Father. As the prophet Isaiah expresses it, "He shall be called the Everlasting Father." It does not mean that he will be called Jehovah. Oh, no, the word "father" means life-giver, and he will be the life-giver to the world of mankind, the giver of everlasting life to the world of mankind in contrast with father Adam who merely gave temporary life, subject to various mutations and death. Christ will be great life-giver to all the world of mankind to give everlasting life to all on the terms of loyal obedience to God and the principles of righteousness. So all through the millennial age Christ will be regenerating the world. They were generated once by father Adam and did not get a sufficiency of life, having lost it through the condemnation. Christ, by reason of his purchasing the world by his own precious life, became the rightful owner of mankind, and he purposes to become the Father, or life-giver, or generator, of the world. [Page Q208]And the church is to be associated with him in this work; as the first man Adam had a wife, Eve, who was associated with him in the first work of generating the world of mankind, so with the second Adam is to have associated with him a wife, a bride, in the regeneration of the world. I remind you of Jesus' words to the disciples. Saint Peter was talking about various matters, and Jesus was telling how everyone would have a reward who would follow him, and Peter said, "Lord, we have left all to follow thee; what, therefore, shall we have?" Jesus said to him and the other apostles, "He that has followed me—you who have been faithfully following me, in the regeneration—and when will the regeneration be? Not yet. The regeneration will be the thousand years of Messiah's reign—"Ye that have followed me, in the regeneration time shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." I have put in the word "time" so you will see how it should be understood. And the blessing will proceed from Israel to all the families of the earth.
ANSWER—Death to a man, death in the absolute sense, would mean destruction. That is to say, the first death would have been just the same as the second death, absolute annihilation, had God not kindly, graciously, made an arrangement for redemption from the first death—the Adamic death. Having redeemed all from the Adamic death, God does not speak of death in the absolute sense, but as Jesus said, and the Word of God generally gives the thought, they sleep. Jesus said respecting Lazarus, our friend Lazarus sleepeth. There is to be an awakening in the morning of the resurrection; he is not really dead in the sense of being annihilated, or destroyed, having perished; God's arrangement for him from the very beginning was, that through redemption and by the resurrection of the dead, he should have an opportunity of everlasting life if he would keep the Lord's Word. When Jesus was speaking to the disciples, and they said, "If Lazarus is sleeping he is doing well," then said Jesus unto them plainly, "Lazarus is dead," but he only used that plain expression in order to come down to their method of speaking of death. In his own way of speaking of death, Lazarus had merely fallen asleep; he was not dead, the condition of death being that of destruction, just the same as when a dog is dead. Now the death of a man and the death of a dog would have left the two creatures in exactly the same condition had God not arranged that man should be redeemed from death, while he made no provision for redeeming a dog, nor for any future life for a dog. Therefore Jesus said, "If any man keep my sayings he shall not see death;" he may fall asleep, but he will be sure to be awakened, and if then he shall keep the Word of the Lord, and be obedient to the directions of the same, he shall have everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
ANSWER—Well, my dear friends, what is it for one to die in his wickedness? Who is it that does not die in his wickedness? Is there anybody in the whole world that is righteous? Do not the Scriptures say there is none righteous, no not one? Taking that, then, as the basis, we say that the only ones who now are brought into harmony with God, and who may thus be said to be saved now when they die, are this small class who have come to a knowledge of God, to an understanding of the divine favor and privilege, and who have made a full consecration of themselves to the Lord, and been begotten of the Lord's Holy Sprit to a newness of life. They have passed from death unto life and if they abide they are in a different condition from all the rest of the world. But all the rest of the world is in a dying condition, as they always have been.
Now what constitutes wickedness? It is not merely that element of wickedness which is in you, because you are born with that. We were born in sin, we were shapen in iniquity. In sin did our mothers conceive us. It is not wicked to be born that way, is it? You were born in an imperfect condition, but the term wickedness as generally used applies to viciousness on the part of the individual, something willful and obdurate in the person's own character and disposition, some fighting against God, fighting against truth, and fighting against righteousness. That would be wickedness. If any man comes into relationship with Christ now, and the eyes of his understanding are opened, and if then he becomes a wicked man, turning from the Lord into sin, as the Apostle Peter says, "Like a dog to his vomit, or like a sow to wallowing again in the mire of sin," any such person, the Scriptures say, will have no further favor from God, and his death will be the second death from which there will be no recovery of any kind, at any time, by any means. He will be dead in the same sense as a brute beast that perisheth, as Saint Peter says. Now that only applies to the class that comes to the Lord now and has the hearing ear, the seeing eye, and begetting of the Spirit; it does not apply to anybody else. What about the world of mankind? Well, during the Millennial Age, during the Messianic Period, when the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth and all mankind will have an opportunity of fully coming back into harmony with God, any who then love wickedness, love sin, and hate righteousness—and more than that, any who do not love righteousness and hate sin—will be accounted worthy of dying the second death. There will be no further opportunity for them of any kind. So that God's standard for eternal life is righteousness and perfection, and nothing else. Whether that righteousness that is obtained in the present time through faith, and by reckoned imputation of Christ's merit, or whether it be the actual righteousness which the world may attain to during the thousand years of Christ's reign, by gradually raising them up out of their defilement and imperfection, either may—whoever sins against such a righteousness is a willful sinner, a malicious sinner, and will die the second death.
ANSWER—Some will continue to die for quite a little time. [Page Q210]I do not just exactly know how long. The way in which this matter will come about will be this: When the Kingdom will be established the first ones to appreciate that Kingdom will be the Ancient Worthies. They will he in full accord with God and will be brought forth from the tomb in a perfect condition. They will be fully admonished and instructed respecting all the things belonging to the Kingdom. I do not know just how long they will be among men. We shall have to suppose that the Ancient Worthies will require a little time to understand and appreciate things. They will not, however, be handicapped by the imperfections we have. They will, therefore, require only a comparatively short time to understand things. In the Time of Trouble, "the time of Jacob's trouble," "he shall be saved out of it." There will be a great deal of mourning, but the whole world will be in a tender-hearted condition, and the Jews will be especially ready to accept the Lord, and they will grasp the situation very quickly and they will constitute the nucleus of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom will be Israelitish for some time, but the first nation to come into line will have great peace and joy and favor far above that enjoyed by other nations, and they will not be long in beginning to see what it is that which is called the Kingdom of God. As these nations see the blessings on the Jewish nation, they will cry: "Come, let us go to the Mountain of the Lord now; He will teach us of His way." For all those who come into full harmony with God through that New Covenant then in operation for all the Adamic conditions will begin to pass away. They will begin to recover from sickness and will gain perfection of health and strength. Life everlasting will begin to come to them in the favored conditions. There is only the one way by which they can come into these favored conditions, and that is that they will have to become "Israelites." All the blessings of the New Covenant are for the children of Abraham. He is the Father of all the Faithful and so when they become faithful to God they virtually become the children of Abraham. Abraham's family will keep on growing to the end of the thousand years and then they will be "as the sands of the sea" in number. Those refusing to come into line with that family will be destroyed in the Second Death. All must be "Children of Abraham," and that means that they must all become "Children of God." Death will continue to operate in all the world except in those who are this nucleus of the Kingdom, and these blessings will ultimately extend from that nucleus under the terms and conditions that will then prevail among men on this earth.
Q210:1 QUESTION (1912)—1—Kindly explain Isa. 26:14: "They are dead; they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise; therefore hast Thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish."
ANSWER—There are some who think that this text refers to mankind and they then try to use this text to overthrow other texts. We should not go trying to overthrow one text by another. We should rather be for trying to bring all the texts of Scripture into full harmony with each other and with the whole. Here is a text which seems to conflict with [Page Q211] the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. Look at the text for a moment. We find here a very special description of the class here specified. This description applies to the "Giants" of the present day in the world. This refers to the great giant trusts and corporations that have a wonderful power and they are all coming together. It does not matter how strong they seem to be at the present time, they shall come down. They shall die. They shall perish. They shall never rise again when once they have perished. These are the class to whom this text does refer.
ANSWER—The Standard Dictionary, our best authority on such matters, gives the following definition of Annihilate: (1) To put out of existence; destroy absolutely; reduce to nothing. (2) To destroy the identity of. Its synonym is, Exterminate, i.e., destroy entirely. Words are only vehicles for conveying thought, and much depends upon the vehicle which best expresses your meaning in the Question. The spark of animal energy which God supplied to Adam and which he, in turn, dispensed to his offspring, but which was forfeited for him and for his posterity by his act of disobedience, passes at death from the individual as absolutely as it does from a brute beast. The word "life," however, as used in a large number of instances, does not stand merely for the spark of animal energy, but is a synonym for soul or being.
In God's purpose or arrangement this being has not in death become extinct, exterminated, annihilated; for he has provided for it a future. There is, however, no sentient being in the sense of consciousness, or knowledge, or appreciation of pain or of joy, or any other experience. But the Divine Creator, who first gave being, has declared that in the case of Adam and his children it is His purpose to provide a Redeemer, through whom all may be restored as completely as before they came under the death sentence.
The world, who do not recognize God or His power, and who have no knowledge of the promise of resurrection through the merit of Christ's redemptive work, might properly enough speak of one in death as being extinct, as a dead animal. This is the standpoint of the agnostic. But by believers, instructed of God respecting His purpose in Christ and in the resurrection of the dead eventually, and in the opportunity of eternal life to every one, this matter is to be viewed from the same standpoint from which our Lord viewed it when He said, "He is not a God of the dead but of the living; for all live or are alive' unto Him" (Luke 20:38); or as the Apostle Paul stated when he spoke of "God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were" (Rom. 4:17); that is, God purposes their awakening, and speaks of the present condition of Adamic death as merely a suspension of life, and not as annihilation', extermination, extinction.
You probably have already in your library a little volume entitled The Divine Plan of the Ages—fourth million now on the press. This will give you a much fuller answer to your question than our limited space will allow in this column.
ANSWER—We understand St. Paul to refer to the tribulations which he and his companions were experiencing as they journeyed about in the interests of the Truth. These persecutions, difficulties, trials by the way, were evidences that God was accepting their sacrifice. Thus their death was going on, as elsewhere he says, "We die daily." In this statement he expressed the object, or motive, that prompted him and his companions to act. What they did was done, not in a perfunctory manner, because they had a general mission, but from a heart motive and in harmony with the Divine will, that they might bring spiritual blessings to the Church.
The early Church perceived that the Apostles were very active in the service of the Truth; and St. Paul explained that their motive was an unselfish one. He exhorted the Church not to please themselves, but to lay down their lives for one another, as he and his companions were doing, as ensamples to the flock. All who are members of the Royal Priesthood are laying down their lives in the service. We are thus "building one another up in the most holy faith," until we are come to the New Jerusalem!—the glorious Kingdom of the great Anointed One, the great Prophet, Priest and King, of whose profession Jesus is the great High Priest!
Our Lord declared, "I come to do Thy will, O God"; "I delight to do Thy will." (Heb. 10:9; Psa. 40:8.) This was a part of the Divine will, that He should lay down His life, finish His sacrifice, that He might ultimately give it on behalf of Adam and all of his race.
ANSWER—A consecrated child of God could not die the Adamic death. His death would either be the sacrificial death or the Second Death. If when he died he were a consecrated child of God, his death would be merely a completion of the consecration which he had previously made. Our lives are made holy and acceptable by the great High Priest, in whatever form death may come. But if in the meantime this consecrated child of God should turn away from Him, then it would be the Second Death. If he sin wilfully, deliberately, he commits the "sin unto death."—1 John 5:16.
ANSWER—Our understanding is that the Lord intends that there will be no sin practiced after the destruction of Satan at the close of the Millennial Age. It will mean absolutely the end of sin and absolutely the end of death—at least so far as humanity and the earth are concerned. But God, before bringing things to that climax and deciding who [Page Q213] may have everlasting life, intends to have such a searching investigation that He will have demonstrated whether or no they will have any love for sin whatever: any who have any love for sin may have all the sin they want and all the penalty they want and God does not want them. He wants those who love righteousness and hate iniquity; the blessings are only for that class. All those whose sins are discovered will be punished with the second death, so that this guarantees that no one will live beyond that time except those in full accord with God, and therefore, without fear of second death.
ANSWER—I think something is dependent upon the weight of meaning we give to the expression "established in the earth." To my understanding the Kingdom will be a little time in being established. It will take time for its establishment, because, as I understand the matter, He intends to establish the Kingdom as people are ready to receive it. There will be plenty of people when the moment shall come when Messiah shall dominate the world and establish His Kingdom; there will be thousands and tens of thousands who will have no knowledge of the fact at all, and it will probably take some little while for the knowledge to reach them, weeks, months, perhaps years—I do not know that I should say years, but a considerable length of time—and apparently, as I read the Scriptures, this will be done in an orderly way. There will he a certain class ready to receive the Master and the Kingdom; there will be, for instance, the Ancient Worthies for one class and certain other persons who have come to a knowledge of the Lord who are in sympathy with the Kingdom and with these there will be the Jews, the willing Jews, and many of them will just be in a condition of readiness to fall in line, saying, Here are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets and they tell us the Kingdom is established and we will fall in line; if Messiah's kingdom is come, we will seek to be in harmony with it. As the blessing will come upon them, the restriction making them better and better, and a blessing upon their harvest, and all the good things upon them, the other will say, Why, these Jews have got it all and they will say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and He will teach us of His ways," as well as the Jews; for, "the Law shall go forth from Mount Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" and it shall go to the ends of the earth. But the blessings of Harvest, and so forth, that the Scriptures indicate, may take some time to convince them; one bad harvest may not convince them. Perhaps when they have had two or three, they will say, These Jews say that the reason of their prosperity is that they have back some of their prophets, resurrected from the dead, but it is foolishness. But as the time passes and the blessings still continue they will say, Foolishness or not, they are getting on first rate anyway. Later on people will reason more clearly when it affects their lives, and will come into harmony and he represented as Israelites; they will all come to be Israelites, the seed of Abraham, for Abraham's seed is to fill all the earth, and everybody that does not become of Abraham's seed will he one of those who suffer [Page Q214] the second death. And so I think it will be a gradual work; I do not know whether it will take ten years or more, but I should be inclined to think that five years will be a long time. And we believe that during that time death will be working in the world; people will be dying just the same as now, from weakness and disease, and that only with those who will come into harmony will the dying process and weakness begin to pass away, and that others will still be dying Adamic death; there will be no difference between the death they die and that which their grandfathers died. All death that comes as a result of sin is Adamic death when ever it comes, so if it came centuries apart it is still Adamic death. The Lord's promise is to any of those who get away from sin; then they may live; but if they like sin best they will die, it would signify second death for them because it would mean that they would fall out of line with the Kingdom, and yet, even, these are given a hundred years, you remember, in which they may be trespassers and yet not acknowledged worthy of the second death.
ANSWER—We understand that our Lord's death was purely a sacrificial one. We find no Scriptures that say the Father imputed sin to Him; we can see no reason why such an imputation of sin should be made. It was not the Father who killed Him; it was not the Father who said He was a sinner. It was the Roman governor who said He was a sinner; it was the Jews who declared against Him first and urged the governor to fulfill their demands; all this condemnation came from the Jews, no condemnation from God. In God's sight He was then and always holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and the Scriptures show that if He had been anything else He would not have been acceptable for God's altar; to suppose that God would have imputed sin to Him would show that He would have no place on God's altar, for nothing defiled was permitted to come to God's altar. We sometimes say that our sins were imputed to Him and His righteousness is imputed to us, and there is a measure of truth in such a statement and a measure of correctness in such a thought. That is to say, we see how His righteousness was imputed to us; that is very plain; He imputes or grants the Church His merit or righteousness in view of the sacrifice He has made, and we can see also that what is meant by the thought that our sins were imputed to Him; by His own consent He took the place of the sinner, He offered Himself up to God "a sacrifice well pleasing." He offered Himself a sacrifice as typified by Aaron offering the bullock; the bullock was not blemished, but a perfect one. As the Priest, He slayed the bullock, and as the Priest He offered it afterwards to God. As a matter of fact, He has not yet offered it to God for the world, not yet. More than 1800 years have passed. The priest merely took the blood of the bullock and went into the Holy and then the Most Holy and there sprinkled the blood only on behalf of himself and his house, his body and the household of faith; the little flock class, the priestly class represented in his body, the under priests and household of faith representing the [Page Q215] Great Company class; only for these did he sprinkle the blood. The sins of the world were not imputed to Him in any sense, nor have they yet been. When He has finished the sacrificing of the Church which is His body, He will present us to the Father; that will be at the end of the age when the Church have been offered with Him and then He will present the full merit of His sacrifice in behalf of the sins of all the people, all the world of mankind. That will be the time when the world's sins will be canceled, but at the present time He is giving us His righteousness and our sins are being put upon Him. He never did any sin, but has merely so far imputed His righteousness to the Church, and will, by and by, to the world.
ANSWER—The book of Revelation is a symbolic book, and I believe it cannot be rightly understood except as a whole. We would not be prepared this evening to explain it as a whole; therefore we believe it will be best to leave this little portion for future explanation.
Q215:2 QUESTION (1913)—2—If the new Age is soon to begin, as stated by you this afternoon, will it be necessary for every man to die in order to gain that new life; or will it be possible to receive the benefits of the new covenant and not die at all?
ANSWER—We understand the Scriptures to teach that when the Kingdom of Messiah is inaugurated it will be in the midst of a time of trouble. Undoubtedly if it is to be the greatest trouble the world has ever had, as the Scriptures declare, it will be a serious time. We imagine many people will lose their lives. If they lose their lives they will need to have a resurrection from the dead. A great many will pass over from the present to the New Age, and the kingdom being established, they will not need to die. They may raise up more and more to perfection and finally get everlasting life without ever going into the tomb.
But I think of another part. Someone may say, "Has not the sentence of death passed upon the whole human family, and would that not mean that they must go down to death?" They are all in death; you are in death. Every one is born under the sentence of death. It is not necessary that those whose reprieve comes in should go the whole length in order to be awakened. Let us illustrate the matter. Suppose all in this audience had been brought under the sentence of imprisonment for life; instead of the prison of death it is the prison of Springfield. Suppose the patrol wagon came and took away a load to prison, and came after another, and another, but there are some still remaining here. Suppose the Governor, or Mayor, or someone having authority, granted a reprieve and set aside this sentence. Would it be necessary for us to go to prison and come out again? The reprieve would cover that. So some have already gone down into the prison of death, others are on their sick beds and on the way, while some of us still have a measure of health and strength. When the new covenant is established it will not [Page Q216] be necessary for such as are living to go down into the prison.
ANSWER—I would say that the question is put in the wrong way. If the Questioner thinks that all the l,600,000,000 now living should give some proof that they will all die, it isn't necessary. Properly, it seems that they would not all die; for the natural conclusion would be that as the Prince of Darkness has the power of death, and he is to be brought under control very soon, is to be bound, and as the Life-Giver who has died on behalf of the world is to set up His Kingdom, and that Kingdom is all-powerful, and its King opposed to death, death will cease when the Kingdom has taken control. The new King will not only be opposed to people who have already died remaining dead, but will be opposed to the death of any who will then have been legally redeemed. This will include every member of the race of Adam.
We have given an illustration in Studies in the Scriptures which covers this point. But you know we need to study those Studies in the Scriptures over and over. There the illustration is like this: Suppose that we as a whole company gathered together were placed under arrest, that some officer of the Government would come to the door and say, "I have an unpleasant announcement: You are all under arrest." And then suppose that they would have a wagon outside and would begin to take us to the lockup. After taking the first load, they would return and take another wagon-load, and then another and another. Then suppose that while the wagon was on the way to the station and while others were standing here awaiting their turn, some one went to see the authorities, and they would say, "There is some mistake about this, but there is so much of a payment to be made." "Very well, I will give you the check." Then the chief officer would say, "Stop this matter of arrest at once." So the proper officers go out and execute the command. They meet the wagon and say, "You need not take these people any further they are not under arrest. Let them go!" Then he come up to the building where the remainder are awaiting their incarceration and says, "You are all now free." Then he hastens to the jail and liberates those who had been imprisoned, giving them the message of freedom.
Now those who had been taken to prison and those who had not been taken had all been under sentence. But when the claim was adjusted no more need enter the prison. So it is with the results of our Lord's death. It will not only set free those who have gone down into the great prison-house of death, but will stop the proceedings against those waiting to go into this prison-house. This is implied in the Scriptures. For example, see Zep. 3:8,9; Rev. 14:6,7.
ANSWER—I understand that with the closing of this age,—or rather I wish to say that the Church will be completed with the close of this age, and at that time a great time of trouble will come in upon the world in which a great many people will lose their lives—a time of trouble which is pictured in the Scriptures by the trouble that came on the Jews at the end of their age when so many thousand people of Israel perished at the siege of Jerusalem. That is given as a type in the Scriptures as the end of this age and the perishing of a great many here. Likewise the French Revolution is held up in the book of Revelation as a picture of the time that is coming in the end of this age. So what we expect will be a little short period of anarchy, and the Church will be taken before that anarchy begins. It will be completed, as our Lord said. The world will fear looking for those things that are coming on the earth, but, he said, "Watch that ye may be accounted worthy to escape those things coming on the world." The Church will have certain things coming on it, and it will include a great many trials and persecutions, and perhaps a great deal of suffering in various ways, in the end of this age; but they will all have passed beyond the vail before this anarchistic trouble will have come on the world. And in the coming of this trouble on the world a great many lives will be lost; but still there will be a great many people left out of the sixteen hundred millions of the world's population. We would not expect that nearly half would die. By no means, but without attempting to guess as to the proportionate number, there will be a good many of them undoubtedly left at that time, and it will be to those that the Lord's first message will come, and the establishment of his kingdom. The Scriptures teach us it will begin with the Jews. They will be the first to be favored in that restitution time. God's favor will come first to them through the Ancient Worthies, and then through them afterwards to all the nations, kindreds and tongues. And thus all living nations will have a blessing from the Lord, and their blessing would come in the very beginning of the dawn of the Millennial age; they will have this first, or primary, blessing, and as they fall in line with the kingdom order of things, righteousness will begin to be established in the earth; and as mankind comes into harmony all of this will be established to some extent before any are awakened from the tomb. Now I imagine part of this question would be, Do they not all have to go down into the tomb? Must not every member of Adam's race, since the penalty was death, go down into the tomb? No, I answer; it is not necessary to the divine will. From God's standpoint the whole world is a dead world, as Jesus said, you remember. There was a certain young man who said, Lord, after my father's death I will come and be one of your disciples. While the old gentleman lives I think I had better stay with him, but after he is dead I will become one of your disciples. Jesus answered and said unto him, Let the dead bury the dead, but go thou and preach the gospel. Which is to say, that the whole world is dead from God's standpoint.
Sickness, death, has passed upon all mankind, and from God's standpoint none of them have life nor a right to life. Again, you remember that the Lord Jesus said, "He [Page Q218] that hath the Son bath life and he that hath not the Son bath not life." The whole world, then, that have not Christ have not life. Christ is the Life giver and whoever has Christ gets life. So then, the whole world is a dead world already. Now, then, with the beginning of the Millennial age, the Lord who has bought the whole world with his precious blood will begin the work of restoring things and blessing the world, uplifting it, and as the world gets this uplift it will help them out of their dying condition. For instance, when the world of mankind that have gone down into death shall all come forth, they will not come forth to life. You remember the Scriptures say that only the first resurrection class come forth to life. So our Lord says, "They that have done good." Those that have pleased the Father, those who have his approval, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life, the others come forth to a resurrection by judgments—a gradual raising up out of death, a thousand-year day in which, under the judgments of the Millennial kingdom, they will be lifted up, up, up, out of their degradation and sin, out of dying, and brought to the full perfection of life. You see Adam had life when God formed him, but when be committed sin he came under the sentence of death, "Dying thou shalt die." The dying began right away. He was thrust out of the garden of Eden. He began to be a dying man; he could not be a living man, and a dying man both. Perfection of life began to go the moment he was thrust out of the garden. After the sentence of death it took 930 years before he was absolutely dead. So with the world in the matter of restitution; the awakening from the tomb will not be giving them life; life is the perfection; it will be bringing them forth in the still imperfect condition, without life. But they will be lifted up higher and higher out of degradation, mental, moral and physical, into which they have been plunged through sin. So not until the end of the Millennial age will the world of mankind be free from death. And that is what the Scriptures say again, The last enemy death, shall he destroyed. And that is speaking of Christ's Millennial kingdom, because it is right in that connection. In 1 Cor. 15th chapter the Apostle shows that He must reign until he shall have put down all authority, and all insubordination, and the last enemy, the last foe to God, and to righteousness, and to man, will he death. And so it will take the whole thousand years to put down death, because it will take the whole thousand years to bring man out of death. So long as death has any hold on mankind, death is not destroyed. It will take all of that thousand years to destroy death and release mankind. Someone may say, "Brother Russell, You have not said anything about anyone dying the second death." No, but it is true. The Scriptures tell that there will be some who, with all the favor of God, will reject the counsel of God and fail to attain that life, fail to be raised out of it; not fail because there is any limitation of God's plan, not because God had not made any provision for them, not because the precious blood of Christ was not sufficient for them, not because the opportunities of the Millennial age were insufficient. No, but merely because of their refusal to accept God's favor under these blessed and favorable conditions of the Millennium. God has given to every human being a will [Page Q219] for himself, and he does not propose to coerce any man's will, but on the contrary he seeketh such to worship him as worship in spirit and truth. And if any will not worship him in spirit and in truth, let him die the death. God does not propose to give eternal life to any except those who desire eternal life and who love the terms upon which be offers it,—the terms of obedience and loyalty to God,—and we all say, Amen. We are glad God has determined that not a rebel soul shall live. So when the end of the Millennial age shall have come, and Jesus shall turn over the world to the Father, he will be able to turn it over perfect, because in the meantime he will destroy all those in the second death who refuse to go forward and refuse to be obedient to the laws of his kingdom. You remember the prophecy how that a sinner shall die a hundred years old. He shall be cut off because of his refusal to fall in line with the rules of the kingdom. You remember the Apostle Peter's statement in the 3rd chapter of Acts when he says, pointing down to Christ's Millennial kingdom: Verily Moses said unto the fathers, a prophet, a great teacher, prophet, priest and king, shall God raise up from amongst your brethren, like unto me. As Moses was the great leader of Israel so here is to be a greater than Moses, the antitype; and it says that the soul that shall not obey that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people. Thank God he will not be tormented! No, God will destroy all the wicked,—"All the wicked will he destroy." That is a righteous, just penalty for those who refuse God's favor and his righteous, reasonable, loving terms.
Brother Harrison: Will you please give us a word or two additional on a few points on that subject? I understood you to say that they who would come forth to a resurrection of life would include those only who have part in the first resurrection. Does it not also include the Ancient Worthies, who died in faith, and, second, may we expect the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies during the time of anarchy, or immediately at the close of that period?
ANSWER—I agree. This statement of our Lord in John 5:29, "They that have done good shall come forth' unto the resurrection of life," includes more than the first resurrection. You see the word "first" in one sense is used in order of time—first in order of time. Now that will be first in order of time there specified, but the word in the original strictly means first in order of quality—first-class resurrection. The Lord does not say that all of those shall come forth to the first-class resurrection. Another Scripture says, "Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first that is in the first-class' resurrection; they shall be priests unto God and to Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." That is the little flock, you see. Now when our Lord mentions the matter, he does not divide this first resurrection, or this resurrection of those that have done good; he does not tell us about the different parts but he lumps together all who belong to the resurrection of those who have done good. They shall all come forth to life, resurrection. Now it includes, therefore, not merely the little flock which constitutes the church, the bride of Christ, but it includes also the great company, because they have done good. They made their consecration, and though they were not loyal enough [Page Q220]according to the Scriptures, to be counted worthy of a share in the throne with the Lord, and be priests of that royal priestly class, and he joint heirs with him, yet the testings brought upon them eventually proves that they are loyal to God, even at the cost of their lives, so that they did good; they come off conquerors, as is shown in Revelation where that class is pictured. We read about the little flock of a hundred and forty-four thousand, and then we read of a great company whose number no man knows, out of every people, and kindred, and nation and tongue. Who are these? These are they who come up out of great tribulation. The little flock came through great tribulation. Without tribulation ye shall not enter the kingdom. Then who are these? This is a special tribulation class for a special reason, and so we read that eventually they will be granted palm branches. They are not granted crowns. Crowns belong to the little flock, but palm branches belong to the great company, because they represent victory. The great company gain a victory because the Scriptures say they are conquerors. But the little flock are what? More than conquerors. The great company will all be conquerors; they must all conquer or they will die the second death. Everyone who comes under the Spirit's power during this gospel age is bound to come off a conqueror, or else die the second death; there is nothing else to it. There are two classes, then, that have done good; the little flock, more than conquerors, and the great company, conquerors. And then there are the Ancient Worthies, who are those mentioned in Paul's letter to the Hebrews, where he explains how some of them were found faithful, and endured hardness, and he goes on to tell about them, saying that they had this testimony that they pleased God. You see that shows they will be of that class our Lord mentioned. He there says that they have done good. On what basis? Faith and obedience. They are, then, in the resurrection class. It includes really three classes, but our Lord mentions them as one, "They that have done good shall come forth' unto a resurrection of life." These three classes will come forth unto life on three different planes—three different resurrections in that sense of the word. First will be the Saints who will come forth to the plane of the divine nature; secondly, will be the Great Company who will come forth on the plane of the spirit nature, like unto that of the angels; and, thirdly, the Ancient Worthies who will come forth on the human plane as men. Why should all of those come forth unto life and perfection? They stood their trial and in their trial they had the testimony that they came off conquerors, pleased God, therefore God is going to give them life. The gift of God is eternal life. The gift of God is eternal life in a special application to the Church; this eternal life is the divine nature. The eternal life to the Great Company is as spirit beings on the angelic plane. The gift of God, eternal life, will be restitution for the Ancient Worthies—perfection of human nature. They were never called to anything more. Then you remember the Apostle says, God having provided some better thing for us than for them, that they without us should not be made perfect. How wonderful the Scriptures fit together! But what about the rest of mankind? They will come forth to be tried. You remember this word "judgment" signifies "trial." The [Page Q221]world will not be on trial until the due time comes. Some of you perhaps have been in court and know that one case is on for trial, and all the cases were not on at once, were they? No. Here is one case that is on trial, and the other cases could not come on until that one was tried. Now, God is putting on trial first of all the Church; the Church is on trial during this Gospel age. After the Church's trial is over those who get the mark of pleasing God will be ushered into the glories of the Lord's blessing through the resurrection change, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Their trial is then past, as our Lord pictures in the parable of the nobleman who went into a far country to receive a kingdom for himself, etc.
ANSWER—We need not quarrel over that text at all. Everything pertaining to the saint is precious to the Lord. At the time of consecration, that is precious in His sight. It was precious in His sight when Jesus, the first Saint, did this. The Father caused the Holy Spirit to come upon Jesus at that time, and the Voice declared Him to be the Son of God. At every other step we may have the divine favor and blessing, because everything pertaining to the saint is precious in the sight of the Lord. Consecration, dying daily and finally actual death—they are all precious to the Father. He is going to give all such that great reward. Precious therefore must they be in his sight.
ANSWER—It is very difficult for us to determine to what extent a title-deed to property will have value after the time of trouble, because we do not know to what extent the records will be destroyed. It is very difficult to speak about a matter which is so obscure, and of which there is no record in the Scriptures. Our supposition is that after the introduction of the Millennial Age matters will go in much the same way as before, but the world will be in a paralyzed condition, all beaten and sore, because of the great trouble. Our Lord spoke of this through the Prophet, saying, "Be still and know that I am God." That will be the first lesson for the world to learn. It will be a severe but a very valuable lesson for the outside nations. We understand that death will continue to reign in a measure and that the only place that life and restitution will be manifest in the world will be in the lives of the nation of Israel under the New Covenant. It will still be true and always be true that, "He that hath the Son hath life, but he that hath not the Son hath not life." The heathen nations that do not fall in line with the Heavenly Kingdom will be barred to the special [Page Q222] blessings that are coming under the New Covenant to the Covenanted people of Israel.
As the other nations see the blessings that are coming to the nation of Israel, they will all want to have a share and this is what will lead them to say, "Let us go up to the house of the Lord and he will lead us in his paths."
As to the value then of a title-deed, after the time of trouble, I think it is too indefinite a question to discuss. I would say this, however, that the man who owned the property would have as much right as any one else.
ANSWER—This, dear friends, you remember was the language of the demons. When the Lord was casting out some of these demons at the first advent, and he commanded them to come out of the man and they objected; they seemed to think they were still within the limits of their time. Haven't we got a right to continue under these conditions? Haven't you come too soon? Are you going to torment us before the time? Well, I would suggest this: The word torment there does not have exactly the same thought that our word torment would have. It would mean, "do us distress;" just the same as in a landlord's warranty, a landlord is said to put a tenant in distress for his rent. That is to say, he will put him out of the premises for failure to pay his rent, and that is the thought that is here. Have you come to distress us, or put us out before the time? But, anyway, whatever the fallen spirits might say would not be good theology with any good Christian. We are not building our theology on what the demons say. We want what Jesus, and the apostles, and prophets, say. What the demons say would not count anything with me.
It reminds me of a gentleman who was once arguing a point with me, and he quoted a Scripture, and it was quite to his side, and I said, "Where is that?" And we turned to the place, and I found then why it was peculiar. It was in Job. It was what the devil said. "Now," I said, "Brother, you are quoting me what the devil said." And he had no more to say. So here, what these demons said is worthy of no further consideration.
ANSWER—I do not think of anything in the Old Testament that teaches the deposit of the ransom. The ransom in this particular sense of the word is not a word used in the Old Testament. Only one case, "No man can give to God a ransom for his brother." It is a New Testament thought brought to our attention under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and representing a very deep teaching of God's Word,
ANSWER—In the name and credit of the one human man I deposit it. Same as if you put $1,000 in the bank, it is in your name. Jesus did not give this to any one else. He deposited it in the hands of the Father. "I commit." No change, no transfer. Not that I commit this in your care for Father Adam or the world. I simply deposit it in your care and keeping. My spirit—that is shown there by the word"my."
ANSWER—The word deposit signifies the word deposit. Put $1,000 in a bank, a deposit; you would get a little book and it would show a credit there. Your deposit does not show that you gave it to the banker. It was in his keeping for you had placed it in his care and it was yours to check out, when you pleased. Jesus deposits the ransom when he said in his dying moments, Father, in thy hands I commend, commit, I give over my spirit. The spirit of human life. Give it over to the Father's hands, not to the devil. The devil has nothing to do with mankind. Jesus had a right to his life. He had kept the Divine Law, being holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners and fully doing the Father's will. He had a life right unforfeited in any sense of the word, and this he deposited. "Father into thy hands I commit my spirit of life." And it is still in the Father's hands; Jesus never took it away. But did he not take it away when he was resurrected from the dead? No, the Father gave him a reward of a still higher form of life. "Put to death in the flesh, but quickened or made alive in the Spirit" on the Divine plane. This spirit life which he had in the resurrection was a reward for obedience; no bearing on his other life at all. He still has right to the earthly, but he has no use for it. He has a higher and better life, but the other is at his disposal.
ANSWER—I would say he did not make his deposit at the time of his consecration at Jordon. My view of it would be that Jesus made a covenant with the Father that he would keep the Divine law and do everything he found written in the book, all the things represented in the types and shadows, and this was the arrangement of the Father, and that by doing all these things fully, by keeping the Law he had a right to life and by sacrificing his right to that, he had become heir to the promises of glory, honor and immortality, and it was when he was giving up his life entirely: "Father into thy hands I commit my spirit."
ANSWER—The thing that is on deposit is merely the value of a perfect man's life. No more, no less. That was the ransom on deposit. The corresponding price, that which Adam had forfeited. Of course that life includes the right to fellowship with God, earthly home and all the things [Page Q224] that God had given to man originally. Psalm 8. What is man? "Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels—thou hast put all things under his feet." And it includes all those rights, and when Jesus laid down his life right he was laying down as much as any man ever had or could have. A right to everything Adam had as a perfect man. All this was placed in the Father's hands, in the hands of the Divine justice.
ANSWER—In that it is the basis of the great work. The first part of the work is the bringing many sons to glory, and that same ransom sacrifice in the hands of justice will be the price which will make the ransom of the whole world from death, and give the glorified mediator, head and body the right to step in, and for 1,000 years exercise mercy toward mankind, helping them up from their fallen position, to all that was lost in Eden.
ANSWER—The general teaching of the New Testament is that Jesus has something in the hands of Divine justice which is the basis of all reconciliation with the Father. The one that directly tells us, he not only gave himself a ransom, but when he died he said "Into thy hands I commit my spirit. I leave it with you." Many scriptures show how this is made applicable. We read of the application of the merit. It implies there is some merit there. Figuratively referred to, how could we receive the robe of righteousness unless there was a merit?
ANSWER—The Apostle is speaking of some who are to suffer destruction at the hands of the Lord, and he says as wild beasts they are taken and destroyed. You do not think it any harm to destroy a lion. Why? Because he is ferocious and apt to do some harm. If it were a dove flying about and harmless, I would say, do not touch it, but let it go. Or if it were some bird of beautiful plumage flying about and doing no harm, but only uttering some beautiful trill of voice, I would say, do not touch the bird. Why should we destroy the life of any such innocent and beautiful creature? But if it were a lion or a tiger, and the whole village or city was in distress because of it, and it was going to do some harm, we would say that we had better destroy it. Every policeman, under such circumstances, is authorized to draw his revolver and to shoot immediately. It is only fit for destruction; and is not a proper thing to let go at liberty. So, the Lord has this view with respecting a certain class He is going to destroy in the second death. They are not fit for life; that is the reason they will be destroyed. They are no more fit for life than the brute beasts are fit to live. Just as it is proper to destroy a corrupt person who has injured others, and to cut off his [Page Q225] opportunity of perpetuating evil, so it would be to destroy a brute beast. And God purposes that all the wicked will He destroy—those who have had full knowledge, and have been helped in every way that God, Christ and the Ancient Worthies will be able to help them—after they have had all of that, if they are still, at heart, antagonistic to righteousness, and if they still love iniquity, let them die as brute beasts. But it would not be right to torment them. It is not right to torment brute beasts. Who would say that God or man had a right to torment even brute beasts, or human creatures? But it is right to destroy beasts and it is right for God to destroy those who will ultimately be like brute beasts, in that they would be injurious to others.
ANSWER—I do not think they will have any final abode. They belong to the wicked, and all the wicked will God destroy; not only the wicked human, but also the wicked spirit beings. Eternal life is the gift of God, and he will not allow that to go to those who will not use it in harmony with himself. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life.
Q225:2 QUESTION (1911)—2—"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever." "And the smoke of their torment ascended up forever and ever, and they have no rest day and night which worship the beast and his image."
ANSWER—These passages are taken from Revelation, and the book of Revelation is a symbolical book; that is exactly what it purports to be. We read that Jesus sent his angel and signified or made signs of certain things, and those signs, or symbols, have been with us and have been examined for 1,800 years. Now we will not undertake at this time to investigate the entire book of Revelation, but content ourselves briefly by saying, first, that all teachers will admit that no doctrine should be based wholly on a text of Scripture found in Revelation, if it does not have some foundation in other parts of the Word of God; no one may build a doctrine merely upon a passage of Scripture which has only Revelation for its basis, because that being a symbolical book, nearly all the statements in it are symbolical. Now in this case you will notice the reference to the beast and false prophet—one beast and one false prophet. Who is that beast? Have you seen that beast? Do you know anything about that beast? Do you know anything about that false prophet? Now, you see, unless I would take time to go into the matter and discuss what the beast symbolizes, and what the false prophet symbolizes, it would not be proper to discuss what is meant by this, and what happened to them. The beast is a symbol of a great system, but time will not permit us to go into a discussion of the subject. I believe it represents a great system of religion that is now in the world. And the false prophet I understand represents another system of religion—not a man, not men, but a system; and that system. [Page Q226] is to be destroyed; and that system is to have torment, and it is to collapse—not the people. You will find something on this subject in the little pamphlet we gave away last night.
ANSWER.—By no means, dear friends. It is a very remarkable thing that there are some who seem to greatly misunderstand what we have to say. You will find in this city and in every great city I suppose scores who will deny that Jesus ever had a virgin mother; scores who will deny that He had any prior existence. No one says anything about their denying the divinity of Jesus. I do not accuse them. Do we not claim that Jehovah was His Father? Do we not deny that Joseph was His Father? We certainly do claim the divinity of Christ; that the divine Father was His Father; that He was begotten and specially born of a virgin, and therefore, was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." Do we claim he was the Heavenly Father when a man? No, we do not claim He was His own father. That would not be Scriptural. If anyone thinks He was His own father, and His own son, he does not know what he is talking about.
As to what He is now. We believe He is divine now. The Bible says so. "Him hath God exalted and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." Already the angels are bowing to Him, and by and by every knee on earth will bow. Moreover, Saint Peter says the church is begotten to the divine nature. While it does not say Jesus is a partaker of the divine nature, we understand him to teach that thought.
Q226:3 QUESTION (1910)—3—In Rom. 16:17, we are told to mark those which cause divisions and avoid them. What rules will enable us to distinguish between such and those who are simply confused, or who are unable to quickly see some further point of truth.? What shall our course with those of the latter class be if unusually earnest about expressing themselves regarding their differences?
ANSWER.—I would say that would he a matter of judgment, that you should use your own judgment, asking the Lord for guidance, that you might deal wisely with all the brethren, and always kindly and lovingly. The marking of those who cause divisions, I would understand the Apostle to mean, that if any spoke differently from us, that we should not take issue with him and put him out. That would be a harsh interpretation. The Apostle means that if they are those who are of a contentious disposition after having an opportunity to be heard, and then continually knocking and work to make a split, then they should be avoided. When he says, avoid them, I do not understand that we should avoid them as wild [Page Q227] beasts, nor as those who necessarily are in opposition, but as those to whom we would not wish to express ourselves so fully and freely as to those who are in closer harmony. For instance, we are not permitted to avoid anyone and to denounce him as being a brother because of some difference of opinion over some passage of Scripture. There is the one procedure for disfellowshipping one who has been considered a member of the body of Christ, only one method, namely; go to him alone. If unable to have the right understanding of the matter take two or three others. If still unable to get into harmony, etc., it may then be told to the church, through its proper channels. It would be wise, in taking two or three others, that you take two or three elders of the church, for they would be very suitable ones to take along. If he refuses to hear these, then it may be brought to the attention of the church, and only in that way and by the voice of the whole company of God's people who might be meeting together, only by their vote in the matter could anyone be disfellowshipped as a brother. From amongst those whom you recognize as brethren there are some with whom you have more intimate fellowship than others, and to whom you show special attention, not on account of education, or social standing, or wealth, but because of their relationship to the Lord; and if you find then one who is causing division, do not give him so much of your fellowship; just be a little more cool toward him than if he were fully in fellowship and not causing divisions. The Apostle does not say to have nothing to do with him, and to brand him as a heretic. Avoid helping such a person to an office, or anything that would specially help him along, if you see him in an unsafe position. Don't push him away, but be ready to help him, and not injure him, I think is the Apostle's thought.
ANSWER.—Who are the dogs? Well, let each look around in his own neighborhood and see if he can find any that have the characteristics of dogs, snapping and barking at you. It does not mean literal dogs, but figurative dogs. If you find any, don't rub them the wrong way.
The evil doers mean, any evil doers; we have neither part nor lot with darkness. Do not have your fellowship with those who are injuring others, for if the time came they would do you an injury. Seek the company and fellowship of those that love righteousness. Put a premium upon that which is good, just and noble.
The concision in the apostle's day signified those who were in opposition to circumcision. Circumcision was a certain sign. Ours is the heart, the cutting away from our affections that which would be injurious. We are not Jews according to the flesh, but we have a circumcision of the heart.
Q227:2 QUESTION (1908)—2—Did Jesus have the right to the dominion of the earth before He made his consecration, as Adam had before he sinned, and did Jesus sacrifice this right in order to give it back to man?
ANSWER.—In one sense of the word that might be true. [Page Q228]That is to say, because He was perfect, and because He was the only man in the world who was perfect, He therefore would have certain rights that other men would not have; but remember, He had to be tried first to see whether He was perfect before it would he delivered to Him. Adam had it delivered to him, and then he was tried to see whether he might keep it or not; he failed under the trial, and therefore lost the dominion of life as well as everything else. But in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ, His trial came first and He was tried before the dominion was given to Him, and in the trial He proved faithful, and His faithfulness was demonstrated by His entire life, and finishing His life at Calvary. So that by that time, by the sacrifice of Himself, He proved His loyalty to God and the right to be the representative of God, the Man Christ Jesus, who now had in this general way the right to be the heir of all things; this He had the right to, by reason of this demonstration of His loyalty to God, as we read in the prophecy, "Unto thee shall it come, O, thou prince of the flock, even the first dominion." The original dominion in Adam came to Jesus, the Prince of the flock, by reason of His faithfulness and obedience to the Father unto death. By consecration of Himself He gave up this. He was both winning and laying down at the same time; He was winning by obedience to the Law of Israel the right to the dominion of earth, and by the sacrifice of Himself He was laying it down so that He would have the right to give it to Adam and His race. He was doing two things at the same time. It was both an obedience to the Law and the sacrifice of Himself. These two things were simultaneous, and these two things were finished at Calvary. So He has dominion, and as soon as He shall have gathered out the Church, His Bride, He proposes to give that dominion to mankind, to the race of Adam, of whom He is to be the Father, the life-giver, and all who will accept life from Him may have it. All through the Millennial Age they will know that life is obtainable by obedience to Him, that He is the only one who has the right to give it, and that is the reason He is called the Everlasting Father, or the Father of Everlasting Life. He will give everlasting life to those who will be His children. In other words, having bought Adam and his race He is going to adopt as His children all who were children of Adam.
Brother Russell: I would not think so. I think that is another line of thought altogether. The Apostle is there speaking to the Jews, and the reason why a Jew could not have any privileges as a child of God was because they were under tutors, etc. Although God favored them, they were treated the same as the rest of the world in other respects; they were not set free from the Law, but as soon as the House of Sons began then Christ made us free from that Law that we should no longer be of the House of Servants, but now might come into the House of Sons. You could apply it, of course, to Christ; that so long as He was a member of the House of Servants He was under the Law. Then Christ as a Son, though He were a Son, so long as He had not reached this demonstration He was treated the same [Page Q229] as the House of Servants. He was under the Law the same as all Jews were under the Law.
ANSWER.—I understand that this would seem to apply to a class who would realize that the Bride has been taken and that they are left; such as is described in Revelation, 19th chapter, when the great company is pictured at the time of the fall of Babylon. They are delivered at the time of Babylon's fall, "Let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage of the Lamb is come (has taken place), and his wife hath made herself ready (and we are left, and disappointed, but nevertheless), let us rejoice, for we see God's plan." That is the time when the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not among the class saved, but we are left, and we are the servant class instead of the Bride. Then a message comes to that class and he that sitteth on the throne sends the message. They were invited to the marriage supper; they were invited to come in and partake of the festivities as mentioned in Psalm 45.
ANSWER.—We make a distinction between the end of the Public Call and the shutting of the door. We understand that the public Call ended when a sufficient number had been invited and had accepted the invitation—in 1881. But of these invited and accepted ones there was still to be a testing. Only those enduring loyally to the end will be finally counted in as victors. Others, not proving wholly loyal to their Covenant in their daily lives, will in time be dropped from the list, which would mean that they had not been running faithfully. This would continually make vacancies to be filled. But such a filling of vacancies would not require a new Call, but merely a permission for one to enter as one went out.
Our thought is that a large number of those who consecrated prior to 1881 failed to "make good." It is our thought that you are still in time to make your consecration, with every reason for hoping that you may make your calling and election sure by zealous faithfulness in sacrificing earthly interests in favor of the Heavenly.
In any event, the most reasonable thing for any of us to do would be to give ourselves wholly to the Lord, just as soon as we realize our imperfection and the Lord's sufficiency. We should be glad to have Him as our Care-taker, regardless of what reward He would give. We should be sure that so great and so generous a King as God would give good gifts to all who are His. In other words, after the Little Flock is completed, the Lord will be glad to bless in some other manner others who have the spirit of obedience and sacrifice.
ANSWER.—You remember the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The Lord tells us that all of these are virgins. That parable does not take in the world. It only takes in those who were looking for the bridegroom. It leaves out the virgin class—those who were preparing for the wedding: all others of mankind. And this parable of the wise and foolish virgins shows that amongst those who were looking for the Bridegroom, and who were expecting Him, and who were hoping to go into the wedding, there are two classes, the wise ones and the foolish ones; and that the wise ones will be able at that time to discern the fact; will be able to hear the knock of the Bridegroom, and will be awakened by the knock. They will understand that the Bridegroom has come, and they will have oil in their lamps; they will not be in darkness that that day shall overtake them as a thief; they will go forward with this light of knowledge, and follow the Lord in this time, and they will go in with Him to the wedding. As I understand it, this parable is in process of fulfillment now, and many have already gone into the wedding, and others are hoping that they may make such progress in the same way that they will also get into the wedding. Mark you, any time before we go in there is a chance to fall, a chance to turn aside and become a foolish virgin, and give an opportunity for someone who was not a wise virgin to get in amongst those wise virgins, and take his place there. The parable is a progressive one. One might fall out from this number and become foolish, or another one who was foolish might come in and be wise at any time before he gets into the marriage. But eventually when the last elect one shall have gone in, no one else can get in; that is the end of it. When the last one shall have been tested, and perfected, and gone in, the door must be shut, because there is only to be a hundred and forty-four thousand of that class, or whatever the number is, if anyone is disposed to dispute the number and think that it is symbolical. I do not know that it is a literal number; I am inclined to think it is. But no matter whether it is literal or figurative, there is a limited number, a positive number which God has predetermined shall constitute the elect class, and it is for you and me to make our calling and election sure by getting into that elect class. There is a limited number of crowns; "Take heed that no man take thy crown." If there has been a crown set apart for you, and if you have been selected as the one to whom the Lord is pleased to give it, then hold on, do not get foolish, and get out of the ranks, but go on; don't let your oil run low; see that you keep faithful unto the end and you shall have the crown; but if you prove unfaithful, that crown is not yours any longer, and someone will be allowed to take your place. The crown is to be occupied. The door will not shut until the last one is in, because the full number must be there; the door will shut immediately when the last one goes in, because there will not be one in there more than that number. The same thing is pictured in another place where he represents Jesus the Head of the Church which is His body, and we are members in particular of the body of Christ, and that these different members of the body are all complete. You remember the Apostle says, You cannot say [Page Q231] to the foot, I have no need of you, and to the hand, I have no need of you, etc.; for every part of the body is necessary. In this way the Lord pictures the completeness of His body. In the type no man could serve as a high priest if he had an extra finger or an extra toe, or if he lacked a finger or a toe. Why? Because the high priest in type was a picture of this glorified and perfect church, which will not have one more or one less than the exact number necessary to complete the body.
ANSWER—Many of the prophecies of the Bible relate to the last times or the last days, not of the planet an which we dwell, for "the earth abideth forever" (Eccl. 1:4), but rather of this present evil world or dispensation, when a new Age or order of things would be ushered in. Thus the "Day of His Preparation" would be the day or period of time when the Lord God would prepare or make ready the elements and conditions for the new dispensation, sometimes alluded to as "The Golden Age of Prophecy." As a matter of fact, are we not living in a period of transition? Marvelous changes are being wrought out, old things are passing away and new conditions are being developed. In connection with this prophecy of Nahum we would direct attention to the statement of the Prophet (Dan. 12:4) that "many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased," in the time of the end. The people are running to and fro all over the earth today by means of these very "chariots with flaming torches"—the automobiles, trolley cars, and railway trains, which "rage in the streets and jostle one against another in the broad ways." The Bible prophecies, more than seventy in number, relating to this "Day of Preparation," clearly indicate that we are on the [Page Q760] eve of a glorious New Era in which the Divine blessings will be showered forth upon all the nations of the earth.
Q760:1 QUESTION—What does this mean: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; but their works follow with them?"—Rev. 14:13. How can the dead continue their works when there is no consciousness, wisdom or knowledge in the grave? Ecc. 9:10. (M.J.E.)
ANSWER—Addressing the members of the Church of Christ, the followers of the Lord Jesus, the Apostle says "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3.) From the Divine viewpoint, so far as the earthly existence is concerned, these are reckoned dead, and alive as new creatures in Christ. It is these dead who die in the Lord. Theirs is a sacrificial death, and they die daily 1 Cor. 15:31), until they have finished the dying process in actual death. But now, from a certain time, those of this class who die, in place of sleeping in the tomb, at the moment of death enter into the glorious heavenly state where their works will continue with them. St. Paul refers to this very matter when he says, "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." (1 Cor. 15:51,52). From henceforth, from that time, we understand the Scriptures to teach, the Lord's people have entered at once into their reward.
ANSWER—When our first parent, father Adam, disobeyed the Divine commands the death sentence passed upon him, and in the legal sense and from the Creator's standpoint, he was dead although he lived for nine hundred and thirty years afterwards. The dying process began and was consummated when Adam passed into the tomb. The entire race was involved with Adam in this death sentence, as the Scriptures declare—"As by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin and so death passed upon all men." As in Adam all die" (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22). From this view of the matter we may understand the Lord's word, "Let the dead (the legally dead) bury their dead (the actually dead)." It is because all were condemned to death in Adam that all will be made alive in Christ (see Rom. 5:18,19). Corroborating the words of the Lord Jesus the Apostle says, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge that if one died for all then were all dead" (2 Cor. 5:14). Jesus, in the laying down of His life, was giving Himself "a ransom for all"—those under the sentence of death and those who have entered into the great prison house of death, the tomb.
Q760:3 QUESTION—Here is a Scripture that is confusing. If you can explain it I will be very thankful to you. It reads, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."—1 Cor. 15:22. What is the meaning of the latter part? [Page Q761]
ANSWER—The correct translation of this text is thus: "As in Adam all die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive." Adam by disobedience brought death upon himself, and all his children being then in his loins all inherited death. The redemption price for Adam and all his race has been provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In due time Christ will offer to Adam and all his children, all the human family, life eternal. This offer will come to the world in the reverse order, however, the last being first and the first (Adam) being last. All after coming to a knowledge of the truth concerning the redemptive work of Christ, who accept Christ and obey him will be made alive. Accepting Christ and obeying Christ in the sense that they will became the children of Christ. Those who refuse to came into Christ will not receive eternal life, but will suffer eternal destruction. Christ is the Great Life Giver of the human race, and during His reign he will offer to all, life as a free gift, and those accepting it upon the terms offered will come up to full and perfect life.
ANSWER—While Moses and Elijah both passed from the scene of earth's experiences under peculiar and mysterious circumstances, yet we are assured that both died. (Deut. 34:5; Heb. 11:13.) The Scriptures everywhere represent the dead as being in a condition of unconsciousness, "asleep" in the tomb, the grave—"The dead know not anything," for there is no wisdom, nor device, nor knowledge in the grave whither thou goeth" (Eccl 9:5,10). We must carefully examine the text under consideration, for the true meaning, recognizing that all of the expressions of the inspired Scriptures are in complete harmony. The ninth verse of this same chapter explains the matter, where we note the words of the Master- -"Tell the vision to no man." What the Apostle saw therefore was merely a "vision" of Moses and Elijah with the Lord, just as St. John on the Isle of Patmas saw visions of beasts, angels, etc., and not actual things themselves. Moses surely had not been resurrected and made perfect at that time, for we are informed that our Lord Jesus was the first to rise from the dead and be glorified. Note also the Apostle Paul's words in Heb. 11:39,40 where he sets forth that Moses and the other ancient worthies of the past have yet to be made perfect by those of the church class when glorified in the heavenly Kingdom with Christ.
Q761:2 QUESTION—If the dead are asleep in the graves awaiting the time of the resurrection at Christ's second coming, when all who are in their graves shall be awakened and shall come forth, as the Scriptures affirm; how shall we understand the experiences of some who, at the time of their departure from this life, see heavenly visions of angels, and hear strains of celestial music? (W.E.D.) [Page Q762]
ANSWER—As it is emphatically set forth throughout the entire Scriptures that the dead are "asleep" "in their graves" and that "the dead know not anything," "for there is neither wisdom, nor device, nor knowledge in the grave whither thou goest"; and that all will remain in this sleep of death until the awakening time, when "all who are in their graves shall come forth at the voice of the Son of Man"; we must conclude that the dying ones did not enter at once into heaven; and that what they saw was not an actual glimpse of celestial glories, but merely a phantasmagoria induced by an excited condition of the imaginative powers of the mind, with a correspondingly dormant state of the reasoning faculties. The Lord Jesus declared at His first advent that no one had ascended into Heaven; and the Apostle says that the sleeping ones will be awakened and changed at the second advent.—See John 3:13; 1 Cor. 15:51,52.
Q762:1 QUESTION—Will you kindly explain the words of the Apostle as found in 1 Pet. 4:6? Who were the dead that the Gospel was preached to? And when and by whom? How will they be judged in the flesh and live to God in the spirit? (J.P.H.)
ANSWER—In the preceding verses the Apostles says "Speaking evil of you who shall give an account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead." From these words it is manifest that he is addressing the followers of Christ who have became dead to the things of the world and alive to the heavenly or spiritual things. The Apostle continues with this thought, saying that it is for this reason (because we who are dead to the world and alive toward God are being called out now, as the Lord's elect class, therefore) the Gospel is preached to us who are judges as in the flesh, like all other men, the Lord may judge us in the spirit, begotten to a newness of life. These spiritual new creatures have their judgment time in this present life and are judged in the flesh with its weakness and blemishes inherited from Adam.
Q762:2 QUESTION—God said to Adam, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." How can you harmonize this with the record that "all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died?"—Gen. 2:17; Gen 5:5.
ANSWER—St. Peter gives us the key to this question in his declaration, "One day with the Lord is as a thousand years" (2 Pet. 3:8). Father Adam began to die as soon as he was cut off from the privileges of the garden of Eden; for while he was living therein he had the Divine permission to freely eat of the trees of the garden—with a single exception—and he was sustained by their life-giving fruit; but after his disobedience he was thrust out into the unprepared earth, and Cherubim with a flaming sword kept the pathway to Eden that he might not return thither to partake further of its sustaining fruit, but should die, in harmony with the sentence. "In the day that thou eateth [Page Q763] thereof, thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). The dying there began, and continued gradually for nine hundred and thirty years, until life was extinct—Adam was dead. This all took place within a thousand year day.DEATH—Vs. Annihilation
ANSWER—In the Scriptures we find that there are two kinds of death mentioned; the Adamic condition of death, and the "Second Death." The first could not properly be termed annihilation, as the Lord has arranged that all who have died because of Adam's sin (the whole world of mankind) are to be released from this sentence of death and awakened at the time of Christ's second coming. These, from the Bible standpoint, have merely been "asleep." Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man," and therefore the entire race will be awakened from the tomb. (John 5:28,29.) During the reign of Christ and His Bride, the Church, who then will judge or try the world, if any continue in apposition to God's law of righteousness, and love, and justice, they will go into the "Second Death." This condition of death is annihilation. "They shall suffer everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." "But these, as natural brute beasts, shall utterly perish in their own corruption."—Obadiah 16; 2 Thess. 1:9; 2 Pet. 2:12.
ANSWER—Death is the cessation of life; the cutting off of the great privilege or boon of living. It signifies annihilation so far as the being or intelligence is concerned. Death, as it now reigns in the world, and to which the entire human family is subjected, is, however, not annihilation, simply because our Creator has graciously provided a recovery from it. The basis for that recovery was laid in the death of our Redeemer—"the just for the unjust" (1 Pet. 3:18). The time for the recovery will be in the Resurrection Day, the Last Day, the seventh thousand-year-period from the creation of man. During Messiah's reign of a thousand years he will recover Adam and all his race from the effects of the first transgression, giving them life again. That is to say, the privilege of attaining to everlasting life and perfection will be placed within the reach of Adam and all of his race, and only by the wilful rejection of the grace of God will any fail to attain to this life. Such as wilfully and deliberately reject the grace of God, are represented by the Scriptures as dying the Second Death. That will be annihilation, or eternal death- -extinction as brute beasts—because no provision has been made for the recovery or succor of such (2 Pet. 2:12).
Q763:3 QUESTION—If a man has lived a sinful life, committed murder and robbed the widows and orphans, etc., and then at the last moment, with his dying breath, confesses [Page Q764] his sins and accepts Christ as his Savior, will he not go immediately to Heaven and be with the Lord in glory? (W.S.)
ANSWER—When we think of the vast numbers of vicious, depraved characters, hardened criminals, convicts, etc., who at the solicitation of clergymen and religious devotees have "made their peace with God" at the last moment before being ushered into eternity by electrocution or by dying a natural death, we wonder that intelligent people would for an instant entertain the idea that these had all entered into Heaven! Is it possible that the saintly followers of Jesus, who walked the narrow way of self-sacrifice, suffering and death, and who developed characters of love and kindness and goodness—that these saintly few, for the saints are very few, when they reach Heaven, will find it crowded with the lowest scum of the earth! Much confusion of thought in this connection has resulted from the misapplication of the Savior's words addressed to the dying thief upon the cross. By placing the comma where it properly belongs after the word "today," the meaning of the Lord's words is clear. The thief did not go to heaven, or to Paradise that day; but went into the tomb there to remain until the Kingdom of Christ is set up at the Lord's second coming, when Paradise will be restored. Not only this thief, but the other thief as well, may then receive eternal life on the terms of obedience to the Divine Laws of justice and love. Failing in this, they will die the Second Death.
Q764:1 QUESTION—"And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from hence forth." Rev. 14:13. Who are the dead who die in the Lord, and how can a dead person die? (A.C.D.)
ANSWER—There are three kinds of death mentioned in the Scriptures—the Adamic death; the sacrificial death, as death of Christ; and the "second death." The Adamic condition of death, passed upon all the human race because of Adam's disobedience. The world of mankind may be regarded as a convict race under sentence of death—"As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men." (Rom. 5:12.) The death of Christ is different from that of Adam and his posterity. Adam died as a convict; the Lord Jesus died, not as a convict, but as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. His was a sacrificial death, and began at Jordan when He presented Himself in full consecration to God, and was "finished" (John 19:30) when He died upon the cross, three and one-half years later. From the Divine viewpoint, the Lord Jesus was no longer considered as a man from the time of His consecration; but was regarded as a spiritual "new creature." He was dead according to the flesh, and was alive according to the spirit. Thus it is with the true followers of Christ. "As many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death." (Rom. 6:3.) From the time of full consecration to God, these are counted as being dead, as says the Apostle—"Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3.) These are the "dead who die in the Lord"—dying daily in the Lord's service, and in the service of the truth (1 Cor. 15:31). See also Rom. 6:8; Col. 2:23.
Q765:1 QUESTION—In 2 Kings 22:20th verse we read "Behold, therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, aud thou shall be gathered into thy grave in peace." Then in 2 Kings 23:29-30, we are told that Josiah was killed at Megiddo. Please explain and harmonize. (M.D.G.)
ANSWER—The promise which the Lord made to Josiah, as stated in 2 Kings 22:20, was because of the splendid work of reformation which the king had inaugurated and was prosecuting against the false and idolatrous religious systems that had become established in the land, during the preceding reigns of the kings of Judah. While it is not specifically stated that this promise was conditioned on Josiah's continued faith and obedience to the Lord, yet we can be assured that such must have been the case, for all of God's promises are of this nature. As Josiah did not die in peace, but was slain in battle, we would naturally be led to examine the Scriptures to find wherein Josiah had acted contrary to the Lord's will. The incidents narrated in the next chapter, are described more in detail in 2 Chronicles 35th chapter and the reason why Josiah suffered a violent death is clearly outlined in the 20th verse. What a lesson far all—to mind their own business and not to meddle in the affairs of others!
Q765:2 QUESTION—In Gen. 2:16,17, we read—"And the Lord God commanded the man saying . . . but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." In Gen. 3:4,5, we read as follows—"And the Serpent said unto the Woman, Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil." My question is: which of these statements are we to regard as true? (I.D.)
ANSWER—The Apostle says that God cannot lie, and one of the ancient writers of the Scriptures declared that "God is not a man that He should lie." (Titus 1:2; Num. 23:19.) Our Lord, on the contrary, in speaking of Satan, the Serpent, said—"He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh of a lie he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44.) In view of these plain declarations of the Scriptures, it would be advisable to accept the Lord's Word an the subject of death being the penalty for disobedience. Scientists, our own senses, and the Word of God, all agree that the dead are dead; and not alive, as Satan and all his emissaries would have us believe. See Rom. 3:4.
Q765:3 QUESTION—I've always had a sneaking idea that somewhere in the subterraneum depth of my make-up there was an immortal worm or something which could never be extinguished, and when this tabernacle that I am inhabiting disintegrates into its original elements, this whatever-it- [Page Q766] may-be will pass into the great beyond, off somewhere in the realms of boundless space. Now, what I'd like to know is: ain't there some Scriptures that proves my idea is correct? I ain't never been able to find it myself, although my grandmother said as how it was there. (Z.E.D.)
ANSWER—The Bible does not speak of the place where "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched." (Isa. 66:24.) This place, however, has reference to the Valley of Gehenna, where the refuse of the city of Jerusalem was cast. In this valley fire and brimstone were kept burning continually. The bodies of dead animals, and criminals who had been executed, were sometimes thrown into this place. These would frequently lodge upon the rocks and would be consumed by worms, which were undying until the carcasses were consumed. Thus the Prophet was forcefully picturing the absolute destruction of the wicked, and was in no sense picturing their preservation. As there is to be a resurrection of the dead, it follows that there must be something that is preserved when death takes place. This "what-ever-it-may-be" is the character or the identity, which, in the awakening, will be endowed with a new body and with life. See 1 Cor., 15th chapter. Scientists and Bible students have never discovered any "immortal worms."
Q766:1 QUESTION—I have just lost a dear little girl who never was baptized. I am about mad with grief and sorrow. Some people tell me that she is lost to all eternity and may possibly now be writhing in eternal torture. I have called in our minister and he only shakes his head in doubt. I have also talked with ministers of other denominations and can get no consolation. I will appreciate it if your question box can give me a satisfactory answer. I want God's word and no guesses if you please. ( an anxious mother.)
ANSWER—We appreciate your sorrow and anxiety. Many mothers have been comforted by the Lord's word found in Jer. 31:15. "Thus saith the Lord, A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children, because they were not." (They were dead, unconscious, "The dead know not anything."—Ecc. 9:5.) These children of Rachel were not in eternal torment, and there is no record of their ever having been baptized. "Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears... they shall came again from the land of the enemy." Death is always spoken of in the Bible as an enemy, and the last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Cor. 15:26.) All the sleeping ones shall return from the tomb, "the land of the enemy," when Christ shall come again, (John 5:28,29- -Revised version.)
ANSWER—We find this scripture to be in harmony with the remainder of the Bible and as particularly expressed in the ninth chapter of this same book of Ecclesiastes— [Page Q767] "for there is no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest." When an individual dies- -falls as a tree in death—so shall he remain in the same condition in which he went into the death state, even as the tree of the forest remains at rest. According to the ideas of some good, well-meaning people, when a man dies there is something that escapes and goes winging its flight around through space, and, according to this theory, this intangible essence that it is liberated from the body, is the real individuality, and thus the person is more alive than ever and perfectly conscious. With this view in mind, and referring to the scriptures quoted in the question, we would be forced to understand that when a tree falls it does not actually die, but something passes from it and it is very much alive somewhere. However, there is no such absurdity about the Bible teachings, to the effect that the dead are dead (and not alive) and will be awakened in the morning of the resurrection.
Q767:1 QUESTION—The Boston (Mass.) press recently devoted columns of conservative space to describing the antics performed by the furniture in the parish home of a Catholic priest residing in one of the suburban districts of that center of the intellectual universe. Tables and chairs waltzed about the room, and a brass costumer threw itself downstairs, while an alarm clock behaved in a most alarming manner, hurling itself across the room and then repeating the stunt after being restored to its original position. The several inmates of the house were duly impressed by these extraordinary proceedings, but were unable to account for them. Perhaps you can explain the mystery. What? (Psyche)
ANSWER—Reports of similar proceedings, in all parts of the globe, indicate that the powers of darkness are becoming very active. These peculiar manifestations can be attributed to nothing else than to the operation of the demons that infest earth's atmosphere. Let no one for a moment suppose that these phenomena are produced by those who have died, and that these are indications of an effort on their part to communicate with their friends and relatives in the flesh. Our friends are asleep in the tomb, wholly unconscious (Ecc. 9:10) and therefore, could not be spending their time in throwing furniture around, thumping on banjos, twanging guitars, and rapping on tables. If our friends had nothing better to do on the other side, than to engage in such silly antics, as these spiritual phenomena usually are, we would do well to treat them with cold contempt. The tendency of spiritualism is invariably downward; no one has ever been influenced to the higher and nobler things through the power of the demons.
Q767:2 QUESTION—What is meant by the expression "unknown tongues" as mentioned by the Apostle in 1 Cor. 14th chapter? Is it possible for anyone to speak in unknown tongues at the present time? (J.J.L.)
ANSWER—On the day of pentecost, as the Apostles were gathered together at Jerusalem, the holy spirit, the [Page Q768] power of God, rested upon them and by its influence they were enabled to speak in unknown languages, so that the peoples of different countries and nationalities were able to understand the message which the Apostles were delivering. (Acts 2:1-12.) This gift of the spirit was conferred upon others of the Lord's followers later and was for the purpose of qualifying them to bear witness to the truth to people of foreign lands. In the chapter referred to in the question, the Apostle discourses at some length on this subject of "tongues" and explains that they were merely for a sign which was not to be used unless an interpreter were present. Although he could speak in more tongues or languages than all of the brethren, yet he would rather speak five words and be understood than to utter ten thousand words and not be understood. When the church was thoroughly established and the gospel message in its completeness had gone abroad, there was no longer any need for the "signs" or the miraculous gifts of the spirit and therefore, they ceased. (1 Cor. 13:8.) It is true that same today have the faculty of speaking in unknown tongues, but this is not accomplished through the power of the Lord; it is of the evil one. A single glance at the frenzied condition, and the paroxysms of those speaking in the unknown tongues, should be conclusive evidence that they are obsessed by demons or evil spirits.
Q768:1 QUESTION—Do the words "everlasting" and "forever and ever" as applied to the punishment of the wicked, mean an eternity of misery, and torment, or merely punishment for a season? Cannot the wicked be destroyed? If they are fireproof and indestructible; then have they not eternal life as well as the righteous? And if they have eternal life, how shall we understand the words of the inspired writer when he says "and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him"? John 3:15 (Serious).
ANSWER—Let no one be deceived regarding the duration of the punishment of the wicked, as it is repeatedly put forth in the scriptures that it is for eternity and not merely for a season. However; it is not a question as to the duration of the punishment, but it is a question as to the nature of the punishment. It is about this point that many Christians have been confused. When the Apostle says, concerning the ultimate fate of the wicked, "they shall suffer everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord," they at once get the thought of the eternal feature of the punishment, but do not get the proper idea as to its nature; reasoning generally that "destruction" means preservation (in fire and brimstone). Death is the punishment for sin. It is the penalty for disobedience. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23.) And when death is eternal, it is eternal punishment. There should be no question on this point. The scriptural proposition is very plain. "The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." The wicked, who after full light and knowledge, refused to accept of the grace of God as manifested through Christ, will never receive the "gift" of eternal life.
Q769:1 QUESTION—What is the meaning of the word "Armageddon"? Also, what is signified by "the battle of Armageddon"? These are expressions that I see are appearing quite frequently in the daily press these balmy political days, and my curiosity is aroused considerably. (T.R.)
ANSWER—The name is found in Rev. 16:16, and means literally "The Mountain of Destruction." It is supposed to have reference to the place where the Lord caused fearful destruction of the enemies of Israel before the armies of Gideon, and of Jehosaphat. On both of these occasions, the slaughter of the allied armies of the foe was terrible and the rout was complete (Judges 8; 2 Chronicles 20). These are believed to be types or illustrations of the "time of troubles such as was not since there was a nation" in the end of this Christian era, when "the whole world is gathered together for the battle of the great day of God the Almighty." (Dan. 12:1; Rev.14:14; Zeph. 3:8.)
As a matter of fact, the opposing hosts of this last final conflict are gathering at this present time. The spirit of revolution and anarchism in the world is generating a boiling, seething condition of affairs. The warring political factions, the militant suffragettes, the socialists, the nihilists, the anarchists, the labor organizations, the capitalistic combinations, and the ecclesiastical system, all in opposition to each and all, are rushing headlong to the Mountain of Destruction—Armageddon. The nations of the earth are already gathered together, forming one vast community of general interests, commercially, financially, and politically, and associated by the modern methods of communication, the cables, wireless telegraphs, railways and steamship lines. Armageddon will truly be an awful place of destruction with all the world engaged in that last final struggle!
ANSWER—The word "nature" in its true sense, as applied to creatures, or beings, signifies the kind of organism and sphere of existence in which they live and move and have their being. Thus when human nature is referred to, it signifies the conditions of existence relating to the human race. The angelic nature is in a higher and different sphere of existence than that of humanity. (Psa. 8.) As there is a vast difference between the conditions of existence of a fish and a bird, so we may reasonably suppose there is just as wide a difference between the human and angelic. The Divine nature is the highest of all natures, and is different from all others in this regard—it possesses inherent life and is, therefore, immortal. Whereas all other natures possess life that is not inherent, but is sustained by partaking of the life-giving elements peculiar to the different natures. A blending of natures would be a hybrid thing—a monstrosity. The Lord Jesus experienced two changes of nature—from spiritual to human (Heb. 2:16,17) and then [Page Q770] from human to Divine. It is promised in the Scriptures that the faithful followers of Christ shall also experience a change of nature, and will "became partakers of the Divine nature"- -the nature of God. 2 Pet. 1:4.
ANSWER—The Logos is designated "The Only Begotten Son" of God. The thought conveyed by this expression is that the Logos, the Lord Jesus, is the only direct creation or begetting of the Heavenly Father, while all others of God's sons (angels as well as men), were His indirect creation through the Logos. Hence the propriety, the truthfulness, of the statement, that He is the Only Begotten Son of God. The Lord Jesus has ever been the agency or channel through whom the Divine purposes have been accomplished. As the direct agent of the Heavenly Father it is appropriate that He should be honored even as the Father is honored. And so it is written, "That all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father." (John 5:23.) After the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, He was highly exalted, receiving glory, honor, and immortality, the divine nature. In view of this high exaltation, and of His position of special favor at the right hand of the Majesty an high, it is no cause for surprise that we find it stated that all should bow the knee to Him: "Him hath God highly exalted, and given Him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow."—Phil. 2:9.