ANSWER—We have entered into this text more fully than we will be able to do now in the Fifth Volume of the Millennial Dawn studies, and there we refer you for a more particular answer to the question. We would suggest, however, that the "first and the last" does not necessarily signify that the person who is the last is going to end, or cease to be. We might say of our heavenly Father, in one sense of the word, that He is the first and the last, that the whole matter begins with Him and ends with Him; or, as we would otherwise express it, He is the all in all. Everything is comprehended in the divine, Almighty power. For instance, we might apply this text to our Lord Jesus and say that he was the beginning and the ending of the creation of God, as He is referred to in one place; that He is the first one God created and the last one God created, and that God never directly created any but Him, and that all of the creation of God was through Him and by Him as the divine agent.
Q358:2 QUESTION (1909)—2—In Gen. 6:3, we read: "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh, yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." When will the Lord's spirit cease to strive with man?
Q358:3 QUESTION (1909)—3—Kindly explain the passage of Scripture contained in Eph. 1:18 (Diaglott), "The eyes of your heart having been enlightened that you may know what is the hope of this invitation, what the glorious wealth of his inheritance among the Saints." How could God have an inheritance, He being the Possessor and dispenser of all? This is the point, dear brother, we wish to have explained, as various opinions are entertained by the Truth people.
ANSWER—The word "inheritance" seems to be the point in question. In what way is the Church the Lord's inheritance? I would presume that the word used here would be in the sense of that which He possesses, that which He has come to possess; because, remember that the Lord does not possess us in the sense that He takes hold of us and says, "I have the authority, and you must submit, because you are mine." No, He possesses us by giving us certain promises, allowing us to accept the promises, and if we take hold of them He will own and possess us, and we shall be His. We [Page Q359] need to have the eyes of our understanding or hearts open, as the Apostle says, so that we may comprehend, and so that then the Lord can have us in His inheritance, or special treasure, as He puts it in another place.
He owns the whole world in one sense, yet He has given it up and He has allowed Jesus to purchase the world and to give it back at the end of the Millennial Age. During this Gospel Age He is sending out a special invitation to find those whose hearts are in the proper attitude to give them special favors to receive them to Himself, and then He will have a new inheritance on a new plane, or on a plane not formerly recognized.
ANSWER—Well, my dear friends, this would be a large question to go into; it would involve the permission of evil in a general way, and that alone would take us at least an hour. And those of you who are following our weekly sermons will find that will he a topic for a weekly sermon sometime in September next—and in that sermon you will find the answer to this question—why evil is permitted. Or, if you wish, you will find a chapter in the first volume of the Studies in the Scripture on the subject, "Why God permitted evil." That covers why he permitted his Son to suffer evil, to suffer death, to suffer pain, to suffer sorrow. Why did he permit you to suffer sorrow? Why did he permit any of his people to suffer pain, sorrow or death? And the reason of it all lies in the same direction? The proper attitude of mind from which to approach this subject would be, not to find fault with God, and to tell him we know he should have done something else, but rather say we believe there is a great God, who made our earth, and made us, and who made all things, and we believe him to be the very personification of justice, wisdom, love and power, and then, from this standpoint, let us look into the Bible to see just what he says, and just why he does this; and if we should never be able to see just why, let us give the credit to our own small reasoning capacity rather than to God's insufficiency of wisdom, because we are not great enough to judge our Creator. If our minds were large enough we would undoubtedly understand his ways to be altogether right, and just, and true, and good.
Q359:2 QUESTION (1911)—2—If God is the very personification of all good and perfection, he must be the author of absolutely everything from the earliest conception of creation, attributes and elements. But God, being all good, the author of everything, God must be the author of sin.
ANSWER—What a wonderful logician this is! There is not a word of Scripture in it. I was asking for Scriptural questions. The Scriptures say, "All his work is perfect." There is no suggestion that God is the author of sin, or that he is the author of anything that is imperfect. He is not the author of sin; he condemned sin. Do you suppose he would make sin, and then provide his Son to redeem us from [Page Q360] sin? How ridiculous that we should think Almighty God is the author of sin, and then working against his own works. Dear friends, let us have reason.
ANSWER—The apostle in Timothy is saying that no man has seen God at any time, the only begotten of the Father, he hath revealed him. Now, Saint Paul means that no man ever saw the person of God. And in the Old Testament, it speaks how that at various times he was seen and how He showed himself; that he was seen through his representatives just as Jesus was the most precise representative of the Father; for instance, on the Mount, when the law was given. Moses saw the Lord; that is, the Lord's special messenger, the angel of the Lord. In one place it says, the angel, and in another place it says, the Lord. The thought is the same, namely, that no man could see a Spirit being, but the angel of the Lord could appear as a man and could confer with human beings.
ANSWER—Now, John Calvin would have been the man to answer this question. It is beyond me, except this: I can tell you some things beyond that. The Scriptures say in John 1:1, that in the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos—the Word—was with the God, and the Logos was a God; the same was in the beginning with the God; and by him were all things made that were made, and without him was not one thing made. Here is a description of the Lord Jesus in his prehuman condition, before He became man, when he was with the Father, before the world was, and the Scriptures tell us that he was the beginning of God's creation, and then that through him angels and all things were made. Now what was before the Logos, I do not know. The Scriptures merely tell us that our heavenly Father had no beginning. I accept that. My head is not big enough to fathom it. There are some things that you and I do well to recognize as limitations to our thought. If you want another illustration that you can easily grasp, it is this: Suppose I should throw a stone and it should keep going on forever and forever—where would it land? It would not land at all if it kept on going, would it? Well, could that stone, if it went on forever, ever reach the end of space? No, you cannot reach the end of space, for there is no end of space. You see you cannot imagine unlimited space, neither limited space. What is the matter? Why, our heads are not large enough, we have not the information necessary for us to judge on some of these things. When it comes to anything connected with our Almighty Creator, we have to admit that we are lowly. We know just as much as he has revealed. What he has not revealed we are not able to know.
ANSWER—Well, I suppose it means that God is the only one that should be recognized. All others go into forgetfulness. I will be the God eventually, in the end. So this primacy of the heavenly Father is recognized by the Lord Jesus when He said He would deliver up the Kingdom to the heavenly Father that He might be all in all.
ANSWER—The Apostle John says that "If our hearts condemn us not, then we have confidence toward God." (1 John 3:21.) In order that we may begin to measure ourselves and our progress, to know whether or not we are pleasing God in the affairs of life, we must know first of all whether we have taken steps to come into His family. Have we made a full consecration of ourselves to do the Divine will? If we know that we have made a full consecration of ourselves, the next question should he, To what extent do I know God's will, and to what extent am I seeking to do it? Do I use my time, strength, influence and all that I have, sacrificially, to the best of my ability, not counting my life dear unto myself? If we find that in a general way this is the course we are following, then there is every reason for us to have great satisfaction.
Then we find that the thing to be expected is that all those who will "live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:12.) If we find that we have not the witness of the Spirit, if we have no persecution, then we have not been letting our light shine out. This should not lead us into anything foolish, but we should examine ourselves to see whether we are laying down our lives in His service. If we find no suffering in the present time, it should be a cause of perplexity to us.
If we find persecutions, then we should make sure that our persecutions are not from any wrong which we have done ourselves, nor from busy bodying in other men's matters, but that we are suffering for the Truth's sake, for the brethren's sake. If we have these evidences that we have come into God's family, if we are studying to know and to do His will, if we are having trials and difficulties in the pathway and are being rightly exercised thereby, we may count ourselves as His faithful people.
ANSWER—The Scriptures frequently use this figure, and refer to a city as a mother of her inhabitants—"Jerusalem and her daughters, Sodom and her daughters," etc. So, God declares, "Jerusalem, which is the mother of us all." The citizenship of the Saints is in Heaven, in the Heavenly [Page Q362]Jerusalem, which will not be built until the First Resurrection. But we look forward and by faith speak of that promised condition and of our citizenship therein. The New Jerusalem was symbolized by Sarah, the wife of Abraham. The New Jerusalem is our Covenant, under which we become New Creatures in Christ, members of the Spiritual Isaac.
The Church is developed under the same Covenant-Mother as Christ—for we are His members. His was a Covenant of Sacrifice, "Gather unto Me My Saints, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5.) The man Christ Jesus entered into a covenant with the Father, which meant the sacrifice of His flesh, His earthly nature, as a reward for which sacrifice the Father made Him a new creature of the divine nature, "far above angels," constituting Him the great Messiah which should bless the world. And Jesus, carrying out the Father's plan, imputes His merit to such as now follow His example, walk in His steps, performing the same Covenant of sacrifice and if we are faithful, we will share in the great work of Messiah in blessing the world, and will be that New Jerusalem, that Millennial Kingdom—we are by faith its children. Even now our citizenship is in heaven.
Q362:1 QUESTION (l9l3-Z)—1—In the text, "Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all" (Gal. 4:26), who are meant by "us," and how is the spiritual Jerusalem the "mother of us all"?
ANSWER—The Apostle here uses a figure of speech which is common in the Scriptures, and in which a city is referred to as the mother of its inhabitants; for instance, "daughters of Jerusalem," "daughters of Zion," "Sodom and her daughters," etc. The "us" class means the saints of God. The citizenship of the saints is in Heaven—in the Heavenly Jerusalem, which will not he built until the First Resurrection. By faith we look forward and speak of that promised condition and of our citizenship therein. The Church is developed under the same Covenant-Mother as was Christ; for we are His members. His was a covenant of sacrifice. "Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5.) The Man Christ Jesus entered into a covenant with the Father, which meant the sacrifice of His flesh, His earthly nature. As a reward for this sacrifice, the Father made Him a New Creature of the Divine nature—"far above the angels," constituting Him the Great Messiah who shall bless the world.
Carrying out the Father's Plan, our Lord imputes His merit to such as now follow His example, and walk in His footsteps, performing the same covenant of sacrifice. If these are faithful, they will share in the great work of Messiah in blessing the world, and will constitute the New Jerusalem, the Millennial Kingdom. By faith we are its children'. Even now, our citizenship is in Heaven.
Q362:2 QUESTION (1907)—2—Does the first chapter in the New Testament lead us to conclude that God may have miraculously used Joseph as well as Mary in naturally bringing forth the perfect man Jesus from perfect, purified origin and nature? [Page Q363]
ANSWER—I answer, no. It could not teach anything of the kind, and does not teach anything of the kind to my mind. The fact is, that if Jesus was a son of Joseph and Mary, He was just as much a son of Adam as you are and as I am, and He was just as much an inheritor of Adam's sin as you and I are, and if He was an inheritor of Adam's sin, He was just as much under the death sentence as you and I are, and if under the death sentence, He could not have redeemed Himself, let alone the world. So the Scriptures clearly teach that the Redeemer should be one whose life was not from the condemned source. But, as the Scriptures say, Jesus' life did come from the Father, and as He Himself said, He was with the Father before the world was, and as the first chapter of John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and the Word was a God. The same was in the beginning with the God. Without Him was nothing made that was made!" Here the prehuman existence of our Lord is affirmed, and how He left the glory He had with the Father, humbling Himself and did not stop, as says the Apostle Paul, with the angelic nature, but stooped to the human nature and was born of the woman, not of the man. He was horn under the Law that He might redeem the world. So the whole thing, according to the Scriptures, sticks together. If we bring Joseph into it, we spoil the whole matter. Jesus could not be your Saviour and mine, if Joseph had anything to do with His birth in any sense. I suggest that the one who made this question read in the fifth volume of Scripture Studies, the chapter, "The Undefiled One."
Q363:1 QUESTION (l908)—1—If our Lord was not a man after his resurrection, and will not be a man at His second coming, how are we to understand Acts 17:31: "He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained"?
ANSWER—I answer, the word "man" is used in a variety of senses in the Scriptures, as, for instance, the Apostle says God is to make of twain one new man. What twain? Well, there were the Jews, for instance, who had been God's favored people, and He took of them all that were ready, all that were in a condition of heart to receive Him as the Bridegroom, and He received them to Himself. "He came to His own, and His own received Him not; but to as many as received Him, gave He liberty to become the sons of God." Then He took from the Gentiles, all through this age, a little flock, and of this twain will make one new man, of which He is the head,—Jesus Christ the Head of the Church which is His Body; so that this is the new man through whom God will judge the world in righteousness.
ANSWER—Jesus was at the time of consecration begotten of the Holy Spirit, and God so recognized Him, saying, "This is my well beloved Son, hear ye, Him," but it was on probation. You remember how that in the garden, He offered up strong cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He realized that if He failed, it [Page Q364] would mean eternal death. He did not fully come to the place of being the Christ, the anointed of God, in the full sense of the term until He rose from the dead. He was declared to be the Son of God with power by His resurrection from the dead.
Just so with us. We receive the Holy Spirit because of the covenant we have made, and if faithful we will have all that, but if unfaithful, we will lose all. We will also be the sons of God by the power or share in His resurrection.
ANSWER—I do not know; He did not tell us. We merely read that He proceeded forth and came from God. We know also that He said, "Father, glorify me with the glory I had with Thee before the world was." Again, He said to Nicodemus, "If I have told you of earthly things and you believe not, how would you believe if I told you of heavenly things?" How did God give Him this knowledge? That is not revealed, but I can give you a suggestion that is helpful to my own mind. When our time shall come to have a resurrection change, and we shall be new creatures, that new spiritual body will not be this old earthly body. No. Well, how will we ever remember the things of this present life? You cannot imagine now, except that God has the power to give that new body, also has the power to impress upon the convolutions of that brain whatever is now stored in this brain, and then we would have all the thoughts of this present time vividly before us in the new state. And so, we might suppose similarly, in bringing our Lord Jesus into this earthly condition, God stamped or impressed upon His brain the knowledge or recollection of his prehuman condition. To allow the one would be to allow the other.
Q364:2 QUESTION (1909)—2—We tell people that the man Christ Jesus was the ransom price, because Paul says so in 1 Tim. 2:6, and that no other being could be a ransom, or corresponding price for Father Adam. Should we not also and for the same reason tell them that the man Christ Jesus is the Mediator between God and man, because Paul says so in 1 Tim. 2:5?
ANSWER—Certainly, I always say that the man Christ Jesus is the Mediator between God and men. What, then, do we say further? We say that by God's arrangement the man Christ Jesus is counted the Head of the Church which is His Body, and the Christ is Jesus the Head and the Church His Body; so, both are the Mediator, both are the Priest, both are the Judge, both are the King, for we are all one in Christ Jesus, for God gave Him to be the Head over the Church which is His Body, and we are members in particular of the Body of Christ. Therefore, if, as the Body of Christ, we suffer with Him, we also, the Body of Christ, shall reign with Him; and, we also, as members of the Body of Christ, if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him. So Christ in the flesh was Jesus up to the time He died and rose again. Then at Pentecost and since, Christ in the flesh has been all those who are recognized as Members of Him, and it is because Christ is in the flesh that you and I are met here today. It is one body, one Lord, one faith, [Page Q365] one baptism, one God and Father of all. The body is in the world, but as Jesus said, "Ye are not of the world, for I have chosen you out of the world." You were before, but you had certain peculiarities which led the Father to draw, and Jesus said, "Whosoever the Father draws, I will in no wise cast out."
ANSWER—A person would not have a right to a double life. No one could do any more than keep the Law. The Law, you remember, called for this : "Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy soul, mind, and strength,'' and you cannot do more than that, except as Jesus did, by laying down that life. As a perfect man He did have a perfect life, but He had to be tested and His testing during the three and one-half years was a proof or test of His consecration vow unto death. He was keeping the Law and sacrificing His life at the same time. Father Adam was perfect and had a right to live, but he needed to be tested. The keeping of the Law merely proved that Jesus was a perfect man and it gave Him no additional rights than those of a perfect man.
ANSWER—The Great Teacher asked the Pharisees "What think ye of the Messiah? Whose son is he?" They answered, "The Son of David." The teacher then queried, "How then doth David in spirit (prophetically) call him Lord saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then calleth him Lord, how is he his Son?"
Of course the question was too deep for the Pharisees. The Great Teacher could answer all of their questions, but they could not answer his. How beautifully clear we see it to be that the Messiah, according to the flesh, was born of the lineage of David, but that God's purposes were not fully accomplished in Messiah of the flesh—that he lay down his flesh, sacrificially, and was raised from the dead to the plane of glory, honor and immortality, "far above angels, principalities and powers." We perceive that in the days of his flesh he was the Son of David but that in His glorification He is David's Lord in that David will receive through him in due time, not only resurrection from the dead but also the blessings of participation in the Messianic Kingdom. The father of Messiah in the flesh will thus become the son of the Messiah of glory, whose earthly life is to be the restitution price for the whole world, including David. Thus it is written, "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes (rulers) in all the earth."—Psa. 45:16.
At a German function in Berlin the story goes that a Colonel met a young officer unknown to him whose only decoration was a large medallion set in brilliants. The Colonel inquired, "Lieutenant, what is that you have on?" The young man replied modestly, "An order, Colonel." The Colonel replied, "Not a Prussian Order I know of none [Page Q366] such." "An English Order, Colonel," said the young man. "And who in the world gave it to you?" asked the Colonel. The reply was, "My grandmother." The old Colonel began to think that the young man was making game of him and inquired, "And who may your grandmother be?" To his utter astonishment and dismay the answer was, "Queen Victoria, of England." Here was a Prince in disguise. And so Jesus was the great King of Glory in disguise. "He was in the world and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not."—John 1:10.
ANSWER—I have never thought of any significance. There may be, but it has never occurred to my mind. He was to rest on the third day, and he was to rest on the first day of the week, because that first day of the week would properly symbolize or picture a new beginning, a new dispensation; as the seventh would be the completion of an old dispensation or order of things—the earthly order of things to him—so the resting on the first day of the week would properly represent him as rising a New Creature—the beginning of a new order of things. But I have never had any thought respecting the Sabbath day, and why that one day more than another was spent by the Lord in the tomb.
ANSWER—I do not know, and nobody else knows, and I do not think it makes any difference to us about the matter. There is certainly nothing in the Scriptures that would tell us which way our Lord was perfect—whether he was like unto Adam in his perfection before Eve was taken from his side, or like the perfect Adam after Eve was taken from his side. I know of nothing in the Scriptures that would enable one to answer that. I feel there is no difference whichever way it was, the sufficiency for the ransom-price was in Christ because he was the Head anyway. If he was merely as Adam was after Eve was taken from his side, he was then the responsible one; and if he was like Adam before she was taken from his side, he was the responsible one also.
ANSWER—Surely our Lord Jesus was an express likeness of the Father's person before he came into the world; he left that glory, however; he became a man—"He humbled himself." It was from this standpoint that he prayed, "Glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." There is a glory of human nature which our Lord possessed while He was a man, "the man Christ Jesus"—a perfect man in the likeness of God. However, the Apostle's reference in the above text was not to his prehuman existence nor to his earthly glory as a perfect man, but to the glory which he attained in his resurrection, as the Apostle declares, saying, "Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name that is above every [Page Q367] name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things on earth and things under the earth" (Phil. 2:9,10.) This, we believe, was the particular time to which the Apostle referred.
We are not to understand that he began to purge our sins when he left the heavenly glory nor when he made his consecration, nor when he died on the cross. In all these sufferings our Lord was demonstrating his worthiness of the high exaltation. Having fulfilled the Law and laid down his life, our Lord had the human life, the earthly nature and earthly rights, to dispose of. He had not forfeited these by sin. They were his, therefore, to give away. When "he ascended up on high" he presented this merit of his as the satisfaction for our sins, the sins of his followers, to purge or cleanse, not only those who were waiting in the upper room at Pentecost, but also all others of the same class down through this Gospel Age, till the full number of the "elect" should be found.
ANSWER—There are different parables, you remember, representing different thoughts, different phases of the Kingdom. One parable says the Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto this, in another it is likened unto that, and in another it is likened unto something else; just the same as you might get one view of this tabernacle from one quarter, and another view from another quarter, and still another view from another quarter, and they would all be somewhat different, but all would be pictures of the same building. So these different pictures of the Kingdom represent God's Kingdom that is to be, that is to rule the world, that is to put down sin and to lift up humanity, represented from different standpoints. It is the Church now, or it is the Church in glory, etc., different phases of the Kingdom experiences. And so with this question: one of the pictorial experiences of our Lord is walking in his footsteps. He says, "Unless you take up your cross and follow me you cannot be my Disciple." We are to walk in his footsteps. That is one picture. In no sense while we are sinners are we walking in his footsteps. No sinner is invited to walk in his footsteps. He must first be forgiven of his sins, first come under the blood of atonement before he can become a Disciple at all.
ANSWER—We answer, it was the Jews that killed Jesus. The fact that Pilate and his soldiers, the soldiers being Roman soldiers, did the crucifying, amounts to nothing. Suppose a man were hanged. What was it that killed the man? Was it the man who pulled the rope? Why, of course it was the rope in one sense, and it was the man who pulled the rope in another sense, and it was the court that gave the order for the execution that was behind that. Now, who was it that caused Jesus to be crucified? St. Peter tells us most emphatically. He charged it up to some of those who were present with him on the day of Pentecost. He said, "You Jews have taken, and with wicked hands crucified the Prince of Life." And they were cut to the heart, and said, [Page Q368] "Men and brethren, what can we do about it?" And St. Peter said, "Repent and you shall be forgiven, for I wot that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers." St. Peter did not mention the Roman soldiers at all. Pilate was merely the representative of law and order, and when it was demanded by the high priest, and scribes, and Pharisees, that he must keep order, and this is what they insisted on as being necessary, he could make no report to the Emperor, except he would obey the conditions. You will not understand me as holding that against the Jews. In God's providence, and God's intention, Jesus was to be crucified; there would not be any other way out of it; that is the way it must be. The Jews did not know whom they were crucifying, and they were not a bit more to be blamed than was Paul for assisting in the killing of Stephen. If I had been a Jew under the same circumstances, I might have done the same; I could not say.
ANSWER—We answer that this is one of his titles by which he is called. There are a great many titles, and this is one of them, and a very proper one. You remember when God arranged to give mankind the earth, he did give it to Father Adam, and Adam was looking forward to a son who might become an inheritor, and amongst all the sons of Adam, there was no one that could claim the inheritance. He himself had lost his right to it by virtue of his own disobedience, and all of his children are imperfect—none of them could claim the inheritance. If any man at any time could have come forward, able to keep the divine law perfectly, he would have had the right to claim all the inheritance Father Adam had prior to his disobedience; but in due time, our Lord came to earth, having left the glory be had with the Father, and was made flesh—not that he got into the flesh, but that he was made flesh, for the time being he was a man; and so the Scriptures say he was the man Christ Jesus. He divested himself of the glory and honor of the spiritual nature which he previously had and was made flesh. He humbled himself to this degree, and he was the son of man; the one, who, by obedience to the divine law, claimed the inheritance of the earth; it was his; and after he thus established his right to the inheritance as the son of man, he gave up that inheritance that it might go as the purchase price for Adam and his race.
ANSWER—I am not sure if I get the point of this question. The questioner may mean, "How could Jesus be the ransom price and the mediator both?" If that be the thought, the answer is, that he is to be a king, and he is to be a priest, and he is to be a judge, and he is to be a mediator, and at the present time, also, he is our advocate; He fills many offices. So, also, in the type of the atonement day, he was typically represented by the bullock and at the same time he was typically represented as a priest [Page Q369] who slew the bullock. So, you see, dear friends, that this would not be any argument against the fact that he would be both the ransom price and the mediator
Again, the questioner may mean, "How could the same Jesus be one who would be the ransom price, and be the one who would be the mediator?" And I answer that the name Jesus is one of our Lord's names; it particularly referred to His fleshly, or earthly, condition. As a man, he was Jesus, and yet the Scriptures identify our Lord in glory with this name; as, for instance, the angel who spoke to the disciples, said, "This same Jesus shall also come in like manner as he went away." And Jesus also identified the church as being members of Jesus, when he said to Saul of Tarsus, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest."
Q369:1 QUESTION (1911)—1—When we read "This same Jesus which you see go up into heaven shall also come in like manner,"etc., does it not have reference to the new creature begotten at Jordan and not to the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for Adam—what does it mean?
ANSWER—The expression "This same Jesus" was made to the apostles when they were still men, when they had not been begotten of the Holy Spirit, when, therefore, they were not able to understand the spiritual things. They had a great lesson in the fact that Jesus had arisen from the dead, and that he was changed somehow from what he was before—that was demonstrated to them by his coming and going as the wind, appearing and disappearing, etc., but still they were not able to understand the matter. They were still children in the primary grade, trying to learn something, and when telling them about the coming of the Lord the messenger did not include any particulars respecting the manner of the Lord's second coming, but simply the plain fact. This same Jesus,—is it the same Jesus, the new creature Jesus, or is it the old creature Jesus? Well, I answer that Jesus was the name of the man, and Jesus was the name of the new creature, and Jesus is still his name, and he will still be Jesus when he comes. So when he would express himself on the subject in Revelation, you remember he says, "I am he who was dead, and behold, I am alive forever more," the same one. It was not the new creature that was dead, it was the old creature. But he preserved his own identity. He holds himself to be the same Jesus all the way down; the change is in the nature, but he is the same Jesus. It was this changed Jesus, the Jesus of the resurrection: it was the Jesus born of the Spirit, the Jesus who could go and come like the wind—this is the Jesus who would so come in like manner as they saw him go. He went away in a manner unknown to the world, a manner that was very quiet, nobody knew about it, the world did not see him go, therefore when he comes in like manner the world would not see him come.
ANSWER—We are not to understand this text to be in conflict with any other text in the Scriptures; we are not to interpret all Scriptures so as to harmonize all. The Lord Jesus Christ did experience his changes. That is made plain [Page Q370] to us. He was merely the man Jesus at the beginning of his ministry; he was the Spirit-begotten Jesus at Jordan, and was the one born of the Spirit in his resurrection, but he is the same Jesus, the anointed one and the significance of this term "yesterday, today and forever" means that he has the same office, authority, and relationship to mankind, and the same character, and the same sympathy and the same love, all the way down. The changes of nature—this progression in the divine plan—has not altered his character in any manner or in any degree.
ANSWER—If Jesus as the man had not consecrated his life, had not made this full surrender symbolized by his baptism, he would have had all the human rights that belonged to the first Adam, because he was the only one to take the place of the first Adam. Whatever, therefore, the first Adam had a right to and could have claimed of divine justice, Jesus could have claimed because he had taken the place of the first perfect man. What would that mean? He could have said, "Now, Father, here I am; I am perfect and I intend to keep your law, and I do keep your law, and now, according to your law, I am entitled to everlasting life. And it means I am entitled also to have things pretty nice. You gave Adam a perfect Eden and everything nice there, and now I am looking around for what you have for me, because I keep your law and in nothing do I transgress," And then it would have been part of the Father's duty—shall I say it that way, duty ?—according to his own law, his own arrangement—it would have been part of the heavenly Father's duty to have provided some good suitable place, some Paradise, for Jesus where he would not have had any inconvenience of any kind, because being perfect he would not necessarily be subjected to the imperfections that belonged to the sinful race. But nothing of this kind could come in, because just as soon as Jesus was a perfect man, at thirty years of age, he immediately presented his body a living sacrifice. There he gave up all his earthly rights, everything he could have asked for, he there voluntarily laid at the Father's feet—"Lo, I come to do thy will, O God; everything that is written in the Book, everything in the Holy Scriptures I am prepared to do"—all the Scriptures there prefigured in the Lamb and the Bullock, all the various sacrifices that pertained to him in the Father's plan—"Here I am, ready to do thy will, even unto death." He therefore, in that one instance, gave over every earthly right, and hence could not have claimed anything the next instant; it was all gone.
ANSWER—That is the same question we had before. Had he maintained his right to human nature, without making his consecration to death, our Lord would have been fully entitled to have a Paradise and the heavenly Father would undoubtedly have provided it; that was the promise of the law—"he that doeth these things shall live by them" [Page Q371] —not live in a sinful or in an unsatisfactory condition, but under proper conditions.
Q371:1 QUESTION (1911)—l—You stated that the Father could have provided a Paradise for him. Do I understand, then, that the curse would have had to be removed from the earth before it would have been possible for him to have obtained this everlasting life?
ANSWER—No. Our brother's question is, "Would the Father have been obligated, according to the law, to give Jesus a paradise home, free from sin and so forth," and the brother wants to know whether this would imply that the whole earth must have been made perfect. No, I answer, when God gave to Adam a Paradise condition the whole earth was in an unfavorable condition, God merely preparing a Paradise eastward in Eden, and God could just as well have prepared some place for Jesus.
ANSWER—Very evidently he did. I cannot see how he could have been devoid of knowledge on the subject when he was praying to the Father that he might be glorified with the glory he had with the Father before the world was. For him to have spoken in this manner, if he did not remember this glory, would seem rather inconsistent. The question might then be raised, how would Jesus remember this glory since he as a man had never been on that plane of glory? We do not know how; we can only merely surmise. My surmise is that when our Lord was begotten of the Holy Spirit and the higher things were opened to him, that in some manner it gave him memory and recollection of the spirit things. We could not be so impressed because we never had such a spirit existence. We know however God has promised that in our new condition, when we shall attain to the higher nature, the spirit nature, while that body will be a totally different body from the one that we now have, it would therefore not have the marks of memory that this body had. We understand that God nevertheless will somehow or other, in some miraculous way as far as our knowledge is concerned, transfer our knowledge so that we in the future, will remember the things of the present and have full knowledge of our present experiences; otherwise our present lives would be of practically no avail to us; all the experiences of life would be lost. So with our Lord Jesus. Had he not a knowledge beyond all other people? Did he not have a knowledge of his prehuman condition? We think so, else he could not so fully as he did have been the victor, because the Scriptures declare in so many words, "By his knowledge shall my Righteous Servant justify many when he shall bear their iniquities." Father Adam did not have that knowledge, therefore Father Adam made a failure. Our Lord Jesus did have knowledge that Father Adam did not have and this superior knowledge, the Scriptures imply, was a great aid to his faithfulness. By his knowledge the Righteous Servant was able to justify many.
Q371:3 QUESTION (1911)—3—Jesus is called the only begotten Son [Page Q372] of God. Does this expression refer to his being the beginning of the creation of God, or to his consecration at Jordan? If the latter, what is the distinction between his begettal and our begettal to the spirit nature at our consecration?
ANSWER—I understand that this refers to our Lord from the very beginning of his existence. He was the only begotten Son of God. God sent his only begotten Son. He was his only begotten Son before he sent him. After he sent him, he was made flesh. After he was made flesh he grew to thirty years of age. After he grew to thirty years of age, he made his consecration. Then he was begotten of the Holy Spirit to a spirit nature; but he was the only begotten Son of God the whole time, to my understanding.
ANSWER—The whole nation of Israel was immersed into Moses. Moses became the mediator or representative of the whole Jewish nation and the whole Jewish nation was immersed into him when they passed through the Red Sea, the cloud overhanging and the sea on either side. This was their immersion into Moses. Of course since Christ belonged to the Jewish nation, he was immersed into Moses, he was responsible to Moses, he was responsible to the law of Moses, and responsible to every feature of the law just as much as any other Jew was, exactly—no more, no less. The difference between him and other Jews was the same as the difference between him and the Gentiles. He was perfect and all the race of mankind are imperfect. He could keep the law and none of the rest of mankind could keep the law. He could keep the law because he was perfect. We cannot keep that great law that Moses gave because we are all imperfect, hence our need of one to make up for our deficiency.
ANSWER—It would seem as though we had never learned the English language properly—or at least, as though we had learned in different schools, and had different dictionaries—because, apparently, the Lord's people, with the very same thought in mind, will use different forms of expressing that thought. Now, what is it to lay down life-rights? When Jesus said, in his consecration, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O my God," what did he lay down? He laid down his will. What did his will include? His will included everything that could happen to him—his life and all of his rights of every kind; when he gave his whole will, his entire heart, to God, it included everything. Had he, therefore, no life-rights left? The heart he still had left, and he still had that life to lay down until he cried out, "It is finished," on the cross, So he had not laid down his life, in one sense, and he had laid it down in another sense; he had laid it down in the sense that he had agreed he would not hold anything back that might be the Father's will—no matter what might [Page Q373]be the Father's will, he would do it. In that sense of the word, he had made a consecration of his all. But it is one thing to lay it down, and it is another thing to apply it. I laid down my hat here somewhere, but it does not follow that I do not own my hat, does it? I do not even know where my hat is now, but I laid down my hat; I gave it into the care of another. Now, it does not follow that I have nothing further to do with that hat. It does not follow that I should not direct that person into whose care I gave my hat to give it to you. I have laid it down; I put it in his hands; I could direct him that be might give it to you. Now just so, our Lord Jesus put his whole life into the Father's hands, and declared himself ready and willing to do the Father's will in every particular, keeping nothing back. Now, in the Father's will there were trials and experiences came to him, the final one being death on the cross, and he was faithful; he kept nothing back he let his life be laid down even to the very last, and finished the work of laying it down; but it does not follow that he had no right to that life; he had not given his life away. To lay a thing down, or to give it into the care of another is not to give it away. So these life-rights that Jesus had and that he committed to the Father, are not given away but are his still to bestow. If he did not have these life-rights to bestow, if he did not have any hold on them, if he did not have any right to them, he could never be the world's Savior, because it is these life-rights that he laid down sacrificially, or permitted to be taken from him at Calvary by wicked men—these very life-rights that the world needs, and that he, as the great mediator between God and men, intends to give to the world of mankind under the terms of the New Covenant. And it is for that very purpose that he may give these earthly life-rights to the world, that God has appointed that he shall have a kingdom, and shall rule the world, and instruct them, and bring them to an appreciation of what he has to give to them, so they will be ready to accept it on his terms.
ANSWER.—He did not give up any life-rights at Pentecost. He gave up his life-rights at Jordan. He completed the giving up of his life-rights to do the Father's will at Calvary. He finished the matter of giving himself there, but while he was thus giving himself, that was a different matter altogether from making application of the merit. That is the point that seems so difficult to some minds to grasp. I do not know why. To my mind it is just as simple as anything could be, but apparently to some other minds it is a very difficult thing to see the difference between our Lord's laying down his life in consecration and the finishing of the laying of it down actually at Calvary and his application of the merit in the "Most Holy." Let me see if I could draw an earthly illustration that might help you: Suppose you had a property and you sold it for $10,000 and you said, "I have a special purpose or use for $10,000 and I will sell that property." You first entered into a contract with the agent that you would give a deed. That [Page Q374] would correspond to our Lord's covenant at Jordan. Then by and by at the proper time, say a month afterwards, you signed the deed—gave over all your interest in the property, and you got the $10,000 and deposited it in the bank. Now that money in the bank is the proceeds of the sale of that property. Now the money in fact is still yours; you have sold the property that you might do certain things with the results and the results are now represented in the $10,000 in the bank. Then it is for you still to give an order or check on the bank giving or appropriating that money for some particular purpose.
Now these four procedures correspond with our Lord's four transactions. First he made his consecration, which is like the signing of the contract with the real estate agent. Secondly, he finished the matter at Calvary, and that corresponds to signing the deed and making full delivery of the deed.
Thirdly, he has the money placed to his credit in the bank, and that represents how he delivered himself up into the Father's hand—"Into thy hands I commit my spirit." And fourthly, he had the disposition or use of that merit in the Father's hands in the same sense that you would have the use or disposition of the money in the bank. It is to your credit. You are the one that can draw the check. So our Lord's merit was to his own credit in the Father's hands, and he also could draw the check and could make the application of that merit and he does make an application of that merit now, as the apostle says on our behalf. And the evidence that it was made on our behalf was indicated at Pentecost when a blessing came on certain members of the church, which is the body of Christ.
ANSWER—I do not see anything improper about speaking thus of our Lord. The word "Birth" is more or less of an elastic nature. Was Jesus not created? Yes! Well then, birth and creation are both the same to my mind. The begetting is the beginning of life. That beginning of life carried out to its consummation means birth or the full attainment to life. Jesus obtained life as the "Only Begotten" of the Father long ago in the beginning. That was the first birth referred to in the texts given in this question. Jesus came as a babe and so we have the account of that birth in the second text above. Then He did come to life from the dead, and thus we have the last text answered. So you see that it is true in all these ways as is asked in the question. It is the same thought in everyone of them, although it is expressed in different words. That is all the difference.
ANSWER—Jesus' begetting was just the same as all the rest; He was in the Court, according to the flesh, and at the moment of His consecration He passed beyond the First Vail. He was a New Creature the moment the Holy Spirit came upon Him. Jesus' consecration was evidently before He went under the water. It was because He made His [Page Q375] consecration and was accepted that God indicated His acceptance by giving Him the Holy Spirit. But the moment He received it the New Creature was beyond the First Vail, in the Holy. So then, as a priest, He was in the Holy attending to that part of His work, from the moment of His spirit-begetting. Yet His flesh represented by the Bullock was taken outside the camp. He was a New Creature—was in this "Holy" condition all the time, every day and every night, whether awake or asleep—all the time He was in the Holy condition, for this is the condition which represented the New Creature.
Q375:1 QUESTION (1912-Z)—l—If Jesus had kept the Law blamelessly, yet had failed in some feature of His covenant of sacrifice, what would have been the status of human redemption? Would the Ransom-price of humanity have been paid by Jesus' keeping the Law perfectly, even though He had failed in obedience to His covenant of sacrifice, and thus failed to attain to glory, honor and immortality—the divine plane? If not, why not?
ANSWER—Under the circumstances mentioned in the above question, the entire matter of redemption would have failed, so far as Jesus was concerned. His death would not have ransomed man from the death penalty. Indeed, the question pre-supposes an entirely wrong view of the Ransom. Jesus' death was a Ransom- sacrifice. That is to say it was a sacrificial death intended to effect the ransom of Adam and all lost through his disobedience. But a Ransom- sacrifice is one thing, and the payment of the Ransom- price is quite another thing. For instance: Jesus did His work perfectly; it had the Divine approval; the Ransom- price was laid down and was satisfactory to the Father, and Jesus has been rewarded for His loyalty and obedience manifested in that Ransom-sacrifice; but the value of that sacrifice, quite sufficient to be the off-set, or satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world, has not yet been applied.
The merit of that sacrifice is in the hands of Divine Justice, subject to application for the sins of the whole world as soon as God's time shall have arrived. But that time has not yet quite arrived, and the world is still not redeemed, even in a judicial sense. Hence we read, "The whole world lieth in wickedness" and are all "children of wrath." (1 John 5:19; Eph. 2:3.) If the Ransom-price had been applied and accepted, the world would not lie in the hands of the Wicked One, and would no longer be "children of wrath."
Before the merit of Jesus' sacrifice can be applied as a Ransom-price for the world's sins—to secure the world's release from Divine condemnation, and the turning over of the world to Jesus and the establishment of His Kingdom for its blessing—before all these things, or any of them, can take place, another matter must, according to the Divine Program, be attended to. That other matter is the calling and acceptance and begettal to the divine nature of an elect "Church of the First-Borns, which are written in Heaven." (Heb. 12:23.) This is the work which has been in progress for nearly nineteen centuries. As soon as it shall have been completed the glorious Redeemer with His exalted Bride class will inaugurate His glorious reign of a thousand years, by binding Satan and ushering in the New Dispensation, for [Page Q376] which the whole groaning creation has so long waited.—Rom. 8:22,19.
Thus it will be seen that our Lord's testing, which began at Jordan at the time of His consecration and which ended at Calvary, was two-fold, and the two trials progressed simultaneously, and to have failed in either particular would have lost all. As a man from the human standpoint, born under the Law, He was obligated to keep the Law in every particular. To have failed would have been death. As a New Creature, who had entered into a covenant of sacrifice, our Lord was obligated to sacrifice willingly and obediently, His life, His rights, everything that He possessed, in harmony with the overrulings of Divine providence. "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11.) To have failed of the full, complete sacrifice would have cost Him everything, and He would have accomplished nothing by all of His previous experiences and loyalty.
Our Lord's faithfulness in sacrificing during the three and a half years of his ministry added nothing whatever to the perfection which He had at Jordan. He was perfect and an acceptable sacrifice to begin with, and He merely maintained that perfection and that acceptance with the Father "faithful unto death." Wherefore He has attained His present exaltation and is in readiness to be the world's merciful and faithful High Priest, and He has also the merit of His sacrifice in the hands of Justice ready at the appropriate time in the end of this Age to be applied for the cancellation of the sins of the whole world.
The Church shares in the benefits of our Lord's death in a different way from that of the world. She has her Redeemer's merit imputed to her by (because of) faith—to cover the weaknesses and blemishes of her flesh, so that her flesh may be presented holy and acceptable to the Father by the Redeemer, who imputes the merit of His sacrifice to it and makes it acceptable as a part of His own sacrifice. "For if we suffer with Him' we shall also reign with Him"; "If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together"; "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, your reasonable service;" "Fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." (2 Tim. 2:12; Rom. 8:17; Rom. 12:1; Col. 1:24.) These are some of the invitations offered to the Church who are now qualifying to be members of the Royal Priesthood in the great work of blessing and uplifting mankind as God has foreordained and promised.
Q376:1 QUESTION (1912-Z)—l—Was Jesus, at the time of attaining the perfection of manhood, possessed of everlasting life, or was it necessary for Him to be placed on trial as a perfect man before He would be accounted worthy of everlasting life?
ANSWER—According to the Divine Law, under which Jesus was born into the world, His perfection proved His worthiness of everlasting life, just as Adam's perfection meant everlasting life to him. But as Adam, who when created was in covenant relationship with God, by disobedience, by breaking the Covenant, lost the right to life which was His by that Divine Covenant, so Jesus, as a perfect [Page Q377] man, was in covenant-relationship with God, and as a human being could have forfeited His right to life only by sin', or, otherwise, have disposed of it by sacrifice—the latter of which He did.
ANSWER—He was always perfect, but did not become the perfect man until the 30th year of His life. In the very beginning, "the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev. 3:14), He was sinless, perfect on the spirit plane—next to the Heavenly Father. When He humbled Himself, in harmony with the Divine Plan and in order that He might be man's Redeemer and Restorer, He still maintained His perfection, His sinlessness. When born of the virgin, He was still "Holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners." He was the perfect babe. As He grew to manhood, His perfection was maintained—He was the perfect boy, the perfect youth and finally the perfect man. Thus we read, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man."
ANSWER—This is a question that no one in the world can answer because there is no information on the subject. The Bible presents to us the fact that Adam was created originally somewhat after the order of the angels. That is to say, he was not capable of producing his own kind, but for the purpose of having a race God divided him into two persons, taking Mother Eve from his side. Thus Adam became twain, and filled the earth with a population, in order that all might come from one man. Whether Jesus was like Father Adam before Eve was taken from his side, or like Adam afterward, no one can answer today. Nor is it necessary for us to do so, as we are all satisfied, I am sure.
ANSWER—In the first chapter of John's Gospel the Apostle describes the Lord Jesus in His prehuman condition. He says, "In a beginning was the Logos (the Word or messenger or mouth-piece), and the Logos was with the God, and the Logos was a God; the same was in the beginning with the God. By Him were all things made that were made; without Him was not one thing made that was made. And the Logos was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father." John beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father. The chapter declares He was the only one the heavenly Father ever created, and all things were made by Him. He Himself was the Father's creation, and in all subsequent work of creation He was used as the Father's active agent. This agrees with all other statements of Scripture; that He was the beginning of the creation of God; the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and last. He was the one whom the Father created, and the Father through Him proceeded with all creation. So the Apostle says, [Page Q378]"There is one God, the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him."
ANSWER—We have no reason to doubt that our Lord Jesus as a perfect boy lived up to the highest standard that could be expected of a perfect boy, and so we read in the Bible that He grew in stature and in wisdom and in favor with God and man. That is pretty plain for the boy, and He kept on growing and He kept on coming up to full manhood and He did not reach full manhood until thirty years of age. Of course He was subject to the law all the way along, and any violation of that law would have impaired Him more or less directly, but the time at which He is specially brought to our attention as being on trial for life or for death is from the time that He gave himself at thirty years of age. So far as our judgment is concerned, we therefore would say that is where Jesus was under trial before the law and His covenant of sacrifice. But without doubt all of the previous years of His life He had lived up to the standard of His knowledge and perfection.
Q378:2 QUESTION (1916-Z)—2—Was Jesus at the age of thirty years qualified to give Himself a Ransom-price for Adam and His race, or was it necessary that first He should have a personal trial, or testing, in respect to His loyalty to God before His sacrifice could be accepted as the Ransom-price for Adam and his race?
ANSWER—Jesus was at thirty years of age qualified and competent to present His body a "living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God," as man's Ransom-price—and this He did. God accepted the offering and sacrifice and signified His acceptance of it by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, by which he begat Jesus again, this time to the divine nature as a reward for the obedient sacrifice of that which He had consecrated unto death.
Nevertheless, the necessity for a testing of One who would become man's substitute was not overlooked in the Divine arrangement. Two tests, or trials, proceeded at the same time, and both were necessary, As a man' He must prove loyal to the principles of righteousness represented in the Divine Law, otherwise He could not be a suitable substitute or Ransomer for Adam and his family. On His own account, to prove Himself worthy of the divine nature, Jesus needed to have trials as a New Creature. His begetting of the Holy Spirit could reach the fruition of the divine nature only by His faithfully carrying out His covenant of sacrifice. Hence, if He had failed to perform the sacrifice as He covenanted, He would have failed entirely, and would not have received the great reward of Divine glory, honor and immortality which came to Him in His resurrection.
As St. Paul declares, "Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name." (Phil. 2:9.) The entire test of our Lord Jesus was along the lines of His faithfully sacrificing Himself, in the [Page Q379]doing of the Father's will—in submitting to all things "written in the Book"—in the prophecies and in the types of the Law. Had He failed to keep His covenant of sacrifice, not only would He have failed to gain the exaltation to the divine nature, but He would have lost everything—even life itself.
But the keeping of His covenant of sacrifice, obligatory upon our Lord as a New Creature, meant also that He kept the Law, obligatory upon Him as a human being because the things required of Him under His covenant were in harmony with the Law. To keep His covenant meant that He should keep the Law, and much more than that—to sacrifice His rights and interests which the Law did not demand should be sacrificed.
Q379:1 QUESTION (1907)—l—Isaiah 40:1,2, "Comfort, comfort, ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, and her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received at the Lord's hand double for her sins." Do you consider this applicable to our attitude toward the Jews at the present time?
ANSWER—I would think that it would be proper enough for us to speak comfortably to Jerusalem, but I do not think it implies that Jerusalem is going to hear at first. Now, we have spoken a good many comfortable things to the Jews. If you will take into consideration what is written in the 2nd volume of Dawn on the subject, and what is the future hope for the Jews, and in the 3rd volume calling attention to this very Scripture, and the booklet in the Hebrew jargon that gives the Tabernacle Shadows, and what we believe to be the true interpretation of the book of Hebrews, you will notice that we have tried to speak to the Hebrews some of these comforting words, but we have not found it has made very much impression on them—perhaps a little, we do not know. But the Lord says the time is coming, and that those who have an ear to hear will hear, and the others that do not have an ear to hear will have to wait until the trumpet blows loud and long.
ANSWER—I can only give you my guess, which is that, at the end of the great time of trouble, the Jews as well as the rest of mankind will be in a great deal of tribulation and general distress, and about the closing time of the trouble, the Ancient Worthies will appear amongst the Jews, not the infidel Jews, for there are some real earnest Jews, who are longing and waiting for the Messiah, and I presume it will be that kind to whom He will reveal Himself, and as He makes Himself known to them, they will believe and then a neighbor will be found, and then other Jews will be gathered to them. There are probably plenty of unbelieving Jews who are with the Gentiles, and when they see the blessing coming upon Israel, they will want that blessing too. All the blessings of God are to be with those in harmony with Him.
ANSWER.—This refers to the Jews "unto you"; the blessings of God must be first to the Jew and afterward to the Gentile. You remember that the Gospel did not reach the Gentiles until after the seventy weeks had ended, till three and a half years of favor to the Jews after Jesus died; then Cornelius was the first Gentile to come into favor with God. So Peter was right when he said, it cannot go to the Gentiles until this three and a half years of favor is over.
Q380:1 QUESTION (1911)—l—Some time ago you suggested that probably not more than ten thousand Jews came into the early church. In reading Saint Paul's letter to the Romans eleventh chapter, we note he refers to the 7,000 of Elijah's time, and then adds, "Even so at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace." Do you think it would be reasonable to interpret this expression, "Even so now also" to mean that the remnant numbered 7,000?
ANSWER—God was not really offering the Jews anything mysterious. He practically said to them that He would make a proposition to them, and that proposition was that if they kept His Law they would have Eternal Life. This was an offer to everyone and anybody. They could not keep the Law, however, and they required somebody to help them, and the Lord was authorized to help them. They were in the fallen condition, and thus they required somebody to keep the Law for them. The Lord gave to Israel the same proposition as that given to the whole world from the time of Adam, namely: "Keep My Law and you shall have Life forever." The Lord requires that everyone in order to have Life must keep His Law. You and I must keep His Law. We are not, however, to keep that Law in the letter and form, but we must keep that Law in spirit to the extent of our ability. The full meaning of the Law is fulfilled in us, and it is accepted with this modification ("to the extent of our ability") because we are Members of the Body of Christ. The Jews, however, were NOT justified by God without the Ransom Price. It was merely a proposition, merely an offer to them. God merely stipulated in a formal way that if they kept His Law (which they boasted they could do) they would have life, but you know what the result was. No, I would say, God did not offer the Jews eternal life as we know it, for all were guilty before God and Justice and had not yet been appeased.
Our inference would be that the Benjamin class—the Great Company, and the Joseph class—the Little Flock, will be made known to each other in the great time of trouble. In the 19th chapter of Revelation, we read that a great many people will see after Babylon has fallen. There is a difference between Babylon falling in a judicial sense, by being rejected by the Lord, and the actual falling, as when she goes down like a millstone. In the 19th chapter of Revelation we also read that a great multitude said: "Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife hath made herself ready." They rejoiced in the fall of Babylon. This is the Benjamin class rejoicing to know the Joseph class—it is after the Little Flock is changed and the Great Company is still in a measure of tribulation that they will recognize the Little Flock.
ANSWER—No, it is not a continuation of the type. We are in the time of the great jubilee now. We do not see the restitution then, you ask? Well, how was it in the type? Did they begin in the middle of the night and take possession of things? The people did not know, but the priests were to let the people know by blowing on certain silver trumpets. We are in the anti-type of that time now. You are blowing the silver trumpet of truth in your neighborhood and I am blowing in mine. Proclaim the jubilee.
Q381:2 QUESTION (1911-Z)—2—In a chapter in Vol II of Studies of the Scriptures it is shown how the Israelites while in captivity were forced to observe the Sabbaths which they did not observe before. Why are these Sabbaths called Jubilees in Vol. II.?
ANSWER—What the second volume of Studies says is, not that the Jews were forced to keep their Sabbaths while in Babylon, but that the land was forced to keep these Sabbaths, while the Jews were in Babylon. God says so. (2 Chron. 36:20,21.) The Jews were commanded that in the Jubilee year the land should rest. Like the rest of humanity, somewhat selfish, they were afraid that if they should let the land rest a whole year they would get behind in their taxes, etc. So they did not properly keep those Jubilees. Israel had kept nineteen Jubilees up to the time when they went into captivity; and the Lord was greatly dissatisfied with them. He said: While you have had the land, the land did not observe the Sabbaths. You did not keep the Sabbaths properly. We are not herein blaming the Jews, for we believe that if the Lord should put such a commandment upon the United States or any other country, very few would keep it.
According to the Law, the Sabbath year occurred every seventh year. The people were instructed to count seven times seven years, and then came the fiftieth, the Jubilee. Thus two Sabbaths came together, one of which, the fiftieth, was the great Jubilee year. The Jews kept these Sabbaths in a half-hearted way; so the Lord put them out of their land into the enemy's land, until their [Page Q382] land should accomplish her Sabbaths. Evidently God did not wish the Jew to understand the full import of these time features; for the Jew does not understand even to this day. If God had meant for the Jew to understand, the Jew would have understood. But we believe that these time features were meant chiefly for the Spiritual Israelite, and that the number 70 was put there to show us when the time should come for the Lord to bless Israel and the whole world. When the time comes, then the Jews will understand about their Sabbaths, the captivity and the fulfillment of all things. But we get this information from the spiritual source, a higher source than the Jews and the remainder of the world.
ANSWER—I do not know any place in the Scripture that says he had that duty to perform. The matter is simply this: Prophecy said that our Lord would be betrayed, just as it was also stated when our Lord rode into Jerusalem that there would be a shout, and so, afterwards, our Lord said that if the people had not shouted, the very stones would have cried out. It was not compulsion on Judas' part. The Scriptures say that he had a devil and that he was a thief. I do not have any sympathy to waste on Judas.
ANSWER—I do not know, I am not authority to say anything more than is written, which is this, that "It had been better for this man if he had not been born." I do not know how it would be better if he had an opportunity in the resurrection.
We know that Judas and the other disciples had the Holy Spirit in a certain sense that the others of the Jewish nation did not have. The Lord put His spirit upon them and sent them out as His representatives, giving them power over unclean spirits and all manner of diseases, and this power operating in and through them seemingly gave them more power and advantage in every way over the other Jews. But if God has anything for Judas in the future, you will not find me making any objection—I have too much respect for the Lord to do that.
Q382:3 QUESTION (1907)—3—How shall we understand this text: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad?
ANSWER—In one sense of the word we are all standing before the judgment seat of Christ now. Are we not on trial? Yes. Who is the one that is trying the Church? Jesus, as the Father's representative. All judgment is committed unto Him. And you remember how he tells the different churches that unless you hear My voice, etc., I will remove your candlestick out of its place. He was judging the Church, you see. When He comes to the Laodicean Church, He says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." The judging and testing is going on now. And if you hear [Page Q383] my voice, I will come in and sup with you, etc. And so the Lord all the way down has been judging His people. We are in the school of Christ; He is our teacher, and instructor, and discipliner, and when we need to receive corrections, the Lord Jesus, as the Father's representative, attends to that matter.
Q383:1 QUESTION (1908)—l—"Who shall give an account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For, for this cause was the gospel also preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit."
ANSWER—I understand here, making it brief as possible, that you and I, and all the Lord's consecrated people, called out from the world, are judged according to men's judgment, as in the flesh, and they look at us from the fleshly standpoint, and they say, Well, there are just as good people outside as there are inside. Not many great, not many wise, not many learned has God chosen. And that agrees with the Scriptural statement that God is not judging us thus. The Apostle tells us God is judging us who have come into Christ, we who have accepted of His favor, we who are trusting in the merit of His sacrifice, we who have made a consecration of ourselves to Him, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. To be judged according to men in the flesh is one thing, but to be judged according to God's judgment in the Spirit is another thing. And so we are glad that our case is in His hands, and we must all be ready to give an account to Him that is able to judge both the living and the dead. And this is the kind of judging we will have. Thank God for that—not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Q383:2 QUESTION (1911)—2—"But a certain fearful looking forward to of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversary." Who are the fearful ones in this case, the ones who have sinned, or the ones who are looking on?
ANSWER—This text is found in Heb. 10:27. The apostle is speaking of some who sin wilfully, and he says that there would remain nothing for them but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation that would devour them as adversaries of God. The apostle does not say whether those individuals themselves would realize their mistake and feel their alienation from God, and we are not to be wiser than he said. He simply said that it will be so. Nothing will remain for them, if they understood it. Those who once repudiate the blood of Christ are putting him to open shame, and there remaineth nothing for them but to be destroyed—fiery indignation which will devour them as adversaries of God.
Q383:3 QUESTION (1912-Z)—3—Suppose one addicted to the use of tobacco and who began to realize its filthiness should resolve to discontinue it and should really desist from using it for a time, but later should resume the occasional use of it, and thus did not conquer in the matter, the spirit being willing, but the flesh being weak—would this cause the [Page Q384] loss of the crown and relegate such an one to the "great company"—or might it lead to the Second Death?
ANSWER—The use of tobacco is a very filthy habit; and there are other habits that are esteemed filthy by some people, but not by others. We are not to draw any line which the Bible does not draw. It is not, therefore, for any of God's people to judge another in the meat offered to idols, or in the chewing of tobacco, or in any such matters. We should encourage each other in cleanliness of life. To our understanding, no one would be condemned to death for not controlling the tobacco habit or the coffee habit or the morphine habit. God alone knows how each is struggling; He alone knows those who are fighting courageously day by day to the end. We are not competent to judge. St. Paul says, "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of any man's judgment; yea, I judge not mine own self . . . He that judgeth me is the Lord." 1 Cor. 4:3,4. We may not even too hastily judge ourselves to be worthy of the Second Death. It is to be left to God as to whether we are overcomers or not. With this in view it is our duty to strive earnestly and not to be discouraged ourselves nor to discourage others, but rather to uphold them and help them to greater courage, to greater zeal and in the service of our Lord.
ANSWER—The Lord says that we should "judge righteous judgment." And again He says, "Judge nothing before the time." What, then, is a righteous judgment? A righteous judgment would be to reach a right decision. And how can we? Can we read the heart? The answer of the Scriptures is that we do not know and, therefore, should not attempt to judge the heart. Well, if we cannot judge each other's heart, motives or intentions, what can we judge? We may judge each other's conduct. If I were to see you doing something, I might say, Brother or Sister, you are doing something contrary to the Word of God, and it is bringing forth bad fruit. If that person should say, Brother Russell, it does not seem to me that I am doing wrong, I must not judge or condemn the brother's heart, but I should judge as between good and evil conduct, and at proper time and place call the matter to his attention, and leave it there. I can only appeal to the evil doer showing the fruitage, and say: Look into your heart and make sure that your motive is right. There is a difference in judging the heart, which we have no right to do, and judging the conduct, which is right to do. But it would not follow that our judgment of another's conduct must always be right either.
If we should come to a brother and say, Your conduct seems to be wrong and I am sure you want to do right, can you explain? He may be able to explain and show us that the fruitage is good when we thought it was bad. We are not to condemn our brother, but go directly to him to get his view, and if we cannot agree, tell him how it seems to us and ask him to judge of his own heart.
ANSWER—The Lord says, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24.) St. Paul says, "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come." (1 Cor. 4:5.) The question then arises, What is "righteous judgment"? A righteous judgment is a right decision. But since we cannot read the heart, how can we render a right decision? The Scriptures answer that we cannot read one another's hearts and therefore should not attempt to judge them.
If, then, we cannot judge each other's hearts, motives or intentions, what can we judge? The answer of Scripture is that we may judge each other's conduct. If we see one of the Lord's people doing something improper, we might say, "Dear Brother (or Sister), your conduct would seem to be contrary to the Word of God, and to be bringing forth bad fruitage." If that person should reply, "It does not seem to me that I am doing wrong," we must not judge or condemn that one's heart. But we should judge between good and evil conduct, and at the proper time and place call attention to the matter and leave it there
There is a difference between judging the heart, which we have no right to do, and judging the conduct, which is right to do. But it does not always follow that our judgment of another's conduct must always be right. We are all prone to make mistakes.
If we should come to a brother and say, "Dear Brother, your conduct seems to be wrong, but I am sure that you want to do right. Will you explain?" He may be able to show us that the fruitage was good when we thought it bad. We may have misunderstood the matter. We are not to condemn our brother, but to go directly to him and get his view. Then if we cannot agree, we should tell him how it seems to us, and ask him to judge his own heart. We can do no more.
ANSWER—This is explained better, perhaps, in the Studies in the Scriptures than I can take time to explain it here. It is difficult to explain a matter like this in three to five minutes, because the whole thought has gotten into people's heads upside down and back end first. They all think it refers to the time when people die. The Apostle Paul, in that statement in Hebrews, is giving a lesson on type and antitype. He is comparing the work of the Jewish priests every year with the work of Christ, and telling how these earthly priests went into the Holy and afterwards into the Most Holy. The priest took with him the blood of a bullock, then of a goat. He went into the Holy; and, after the cloud of incense had passed through the second veil and covered the Mercy-Seat, he went into the Most Holy, representing heaven itself.
The antitype is that our Lord Jesus offered up Himself as the bullock. The bullock represented Jesus as a man; the goat represented the human nature of the church. As High[Page Q386] Priest, Jesus slew the bullock; at baptism He offered the sacrifice of His humanity. The typical priest took His two hands full of incense and crumbled it in the fire on the incense altar—that represented the three and one-half years of our Lord's ministry. This picture of the incense falling upon the fire represented the glorious qualities of Jesus as He came in contact with the trials of life. In every case His faithfulness yielded a sweet perfume.
When Satan came to Him with temptation, His loyalty was an offering of sweet odor to God. When he had the suggestion come to Him to avoid giving what He had agreed to give, He put the temptation away and would have nothing to do with it. "The cup that My Father hath poured for Me shall I not drink it?" was ever His sentiment. The sweet incense went before Him and appeared in the presence of God before He finished His course at Calvary. His death upon the cross was the last crumb of incense falling into the fire, in the antitype. Then our High Priest went under the veil—into death. He was parts of three days under the veil, arising on the other side of the veil on the third day. This was the resurrection of Jesus. He arose on the spirit side of the veil, a spirit being. Then, forty days later, He sprinkled upon the Mercy-Seat in the Most Holy, in heaven, the blood of Atonement on behalf of the church.
The apostle here is trying to get the church to see that the Jewish high priest did something of this kind in type. The Jewish high priest went into the most holy of the tabernacle, not without blood. That blood, in every case, represented the blood of the high priest—his life. Every high priest, when he passed under that veil on the Day of Atonement, was in danger of being stricken dead. If he had not done perfectly, according to the requirements of the Lord, he would have died as he attempted to pass that veil, under that curtain. And so it would have been death to Jesus if He had not done perfectly the will of the Father.
Then the apostle declares, "It is appointed unto men (men-priests—get the thought) once to die (typically, in passing under the veil) and after that the judgment," or decision. They typified their death in the sacrifice of the bullock, and carrying its blood under the veil. If the priest had not done it perfectly, he died. The bullock represented the priest. After he had sacrificed it he passed with its blood under the second veil. "After death the judgment." There is no reference here to the death of mankind, but merely to these priests offering their sacrifice. Jesus died, passed the second veil, and was raised on the third day. After the high priest in the type had made his offering, and had passed beyond the second veil, and sprinkled the blood upon the Mercy-Seat, he came out and blessed the people.
Our Lord Jesus, the High Priest, has not yet come out to bless the people. The antitype is a very large thing. Jesus went under the veil into the Heavenly Holy over eighteen hundred years ago. He has not yet appeared for the blessing of the world. But "To those that look for Him, He shall appear a second time, not as a sin-offering, but unto salvation." This is the best I can do on this question in the limited time I can give here.
Q386:1 QUESTION (1916)—l—The 8th verse of Psalm 149 reads: [Page Q387] "To bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute upon them the judgments written. This honor hath all His saints." Does this apply to the present time? If so, how is it being fulfilled?
ANSWER—We have already had something to say on this very subject in The Watch Tower. (Z1914, p. 135, par 3; col. 1.) It would be better, perhaps, to read this article. We pointed out that this Psalm evidently pictured a time when the Lord's people on this side the veil would in some way be prominent before the world. It says, "Let the saints be joyful in glory." Once we thought that this meant joyful in Heaven; but now we see that to be joyful in glory need not he on the other side, but on this side of the veil. The Psalmist proceeds to say, "Let them sing aloud upon their beds." He declares that the saints upon their beds will have a two-edged sword in their hands. The bed signifies a condition of ease, so far as the faith is concerned. We shall, of course, be at ease on the other side; but this evidently means an ease of faith on this side of the veil. The two-edged sword means the Word of God. That must mean here; for no one will be smiting anything with a two-edged sword over there. It will surely be here. This two-edged sword in the hands of the saints means that, while they are resting in their faith, they have the Word of God, sharp and powerful, and with it are able to oppose everything opposed to the Truth. All this belongs to this side of the veil. These are the saints who are to execute the judgments written. How? I cannot give all the details. Undoubtedly there will be a great many details when we reach that time. We should be ready to take any part which the Lord may give us. He will give all of His people a share.
We shall see what this judging may mean a little later on. The river Jordan means a judgment, and the smiting of this Jordan may mean to put the Truth in such a way as to do the judging. The Elijah will handle this sword. The details are not given; but it is left to us to watch the leadings of the Lord. The Lord has kindly veiled our eyes to this matter. Until now we have never thought much about Elijah's going down to the Jordan and the important work he did there as having any special significance. But now we see that we went to the Jordan in 1914; and that Elijah and Elisha stood there, talking as we are doing now. After they had talked awhile, Elijah wrapped up his mantle, evidently referring to some special power given to the Elijah class; and he then smote the waters. We are watching daily to see what this may mean. Everything led up to that smiting. Everything went ahead to prepare for this. Now we see that what has preceded has only been preparing the way for this. I am daily looking for what the folding up of the mantle may signify. It looks as if it may mean a great deal of money. We are trying to wrap up whatever mantle comes. This smiting will probably affect the whole civilized world. They are going to feel the influence of this smiting. Let us be ready.
ANSWER—Justice, dear friends, is the representative of God. While it is stated that God is love, that represents the very essence of His character; and when He represents Him- [Page Q388] self, He pictures Himself from the standpoint of justice. "Justice is the habitation of thy throne, O Lord." So that the satisfaction of justice is the satisfaction of God in that sense. Now has God been satisfied? In what respect? If we were speaking of God as being satisfied with respect to His own plan, certainly He is satisfied; He made the plan; but so far as justice is concerned, He has allowed these different qualities of His being to be manifested separately. For instance, under the operation of divine justice, the Lord pronounced the original sentence. "Dying thou shalt die," and for more than six thousand years our race has been under that sentence of justice, and is still under it. Justice is calling for the death of the whole world, and that is the reason the whole world is a dying world. Well, has God made any provision for the satisfaction of His justice? Yes, we answer, God has declared that He loves the world, and that although His justice sentences the world, nevertheless He has provided a way out, and He has shown us what that way is: that our Lord Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. What is it Jesus did? We answer, He died for our sins. For whose sins did He die? I answer, He died before He appropriated it to anyone. When Jesus died, there was no appropriation of it to anyone; He simply died, and then what? On the third day He arose from the dead. The Father raised Him from the dead by His own power, and forty days afterward He ascended up on high. What for? There to appear in the presence of God for somebody. What does it mean by appearing for somebody? In the same way an attorney would go into court before the bar of justice and appear for you. If you employed him to act as your attorney, he would appear before the court for you. Now I might be guilty and he might not appear for me; he might even be a friend of mine, or at least have given assistance to me, but he is not my attorney unless I have engaged him, and he is not therefore authorized to appear for me unless I engage him. Now when our Lord Jesus ascended up on high, He appeared in the presence of God for us. Who are the "us"? Us believers, us of the household of faith. Did he not appear for the world? No. Did he appear for Adam? No, he did not. Well, had he not merit enough to appear for all? O yes, He had plenty of merit, no lack of merit! The one sacrifice was necessary for any one member of the race. No one member of the race could be reconciled to God, or atoned for, except by the death of Christ. But suppose in God's plan it had been to make reconciliation for your sins alone, individually: it would have taken the whole death of Christ to make that possible, would it not? And if it were I alone, it would have taken the whole merit of Christ to atone for me; nothing less than that would have done; so that if Adam had been atoned for, it would have required all; any member of the race would have required all; but since all died through one man's disobedience it is possible for that one person who paid the ransom price to apply His blood for a thousand individuals, or for a hundred thousand individuals, or for a million individuals, or for the entire membership of the human race, and for Adam himself. He could appear for just as many as he chose; He could apply the merit of His sacrifice for one or for all, [Page Q389] but less than His sacrifice would not do for any one. And more than His sacrifice was not necessary for all. Now, who did He appear for? He appeared for the household of faith. Where have we anything to illustrate the matter? I answer in the 9th chapter of Leviticus, in the Tabernacle Shadows, we have a picture which shows the very matter, how the high priest after having offered up the bullock, which represented himself, went into the holy. For whom did he appear? He appeared for himself, his body, and his house. He appeared for his own sons, who were the members of his own body, the underpriests, and he appeared for his own tribe which was the tribe of Levi; he appeared for all of these, and he sprinkled the blood for all of these. Was it accepted? Yes. For whom? Just accepted for those for whom he applied it. It was not accepted for any except those for whom he applied it. He could have applied it for all, as we see, looking at the Lord Jesus, the antitype, but it was not made available for all. It was only applied to his members, to his house. Now it is so with Christ. He applied the merit of His sacrifice for us, the household of faith, all believers; and amongst these believers are consecrated ones, the members of His body. He did apply it for us; and what was the consequence? The consequence was that justice was satisfied so far as we are concerned. How do we know? Because the Scriptures tell us that the Lord Jesus has made a reconciliation for our sins. The Scriptures tell us that the Father Himself loveth us. The Scriptures tell us that we have access to God through the blood. Who has access, sinners? No. Well, who? Believers have access; those who have turned their backs on sin, those who have become members of the household of faith have access through His blood. Others do not have any access to God through the blood; it is not intended that they should; He has applied His blood only for this particular class. Now what is the second step? We answer, the second step is shown in the type also. After he appeared for us then he appeared in us. That is to say, He accepted these consecrated ones as members of His body, accepted them as the Lord's goat in the type; they were no longer their own. "Ye are not your own." All those whom He accepts as joint-sacrificers with Him have first of all given up their individuality, their own personality, "Ye are dead." Now there is the point a great many of our dear friends are mixed on, I think. They do not see that, "Ye are dead." There is no you; you are out of the question. Some of the dear friends will say," Brother Russell, don't we offer the sacrifice?" I say, not at all, my brother. Did the goat offer itself in sacrifice? Not at all; the high priest slew the goat; the goat had nothing to do with slaying itself; you, according to the flesh, and I, according to the flesh, when we presented ourselves to God in sacrifice are represented by that goat, which does none of the sacrificing at all. So you did not do the sacrificing, and you are not sacrificing now, and you are not going to offer your own blood. Nothing of the kind. You simply gave yourself to the Lord and your individuality was lost immediately; you are dead. When the goat was killed it represented you dying as a human being, as an old creature, and henceforth what? "Henceforth for me to [Page Q390] live is Christ"—and a member of the Body of Christ. That is the only standing I have, and the only standing you have, because we are members of the body. And what part of the Body is to do the sacrificing? I answer, it is the Head. All of your intelligence is in your head, and all the willing is in your head. So with the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ; all the willing for the Church is in the Head, and all the responsibility of the Church in the sacrificing is in the Head, Jesus Christ; and He may use the hand or some other member to assist in the sacrificing, but it is He, the Head, the great priest, that does the whole work, and you and I merely as individuals have ceased to be; we have nothing to do with the sacrificing at all. As members of His Body we have something to do with it, namely: we are to co-operate with Him as members of His Body. Suppose your little finger were in the body of the Lord, figuratively speaking, and it was in opposition to the Lord? It would have no longer a right in that Body. But if that little finger is in harmony with the Head, all that the Head shall direct, it will do; but that little finger is not according to the flesh; it represents my membership in the Body of Christ as a New Creature. So get that thought, and the whole matter straightens out before you. It is all Christ's sacrifice, first and last, and He that began the good work will finish it. The whole work is of Christ. He is the mediator. The Head was the mediator to begin with; He began the work of mediation at the first advent in the sense of the word that He began the work the basis of which He was then doing; He was giving His own life which was the basis of the new covenant with the world, and the basis of the mediation of the next age; He gave His own life, and after having done that, He is taking on, during this Gospel Age, members of His body, but He is still the Head, and the whole Body is growing; it is merely Christ coming to an enlarged position, if you please; it is the great Christ,—Christ, the Head, and the members which He has added to that Head by the will of the Father; so the same great Christ that began the work at Calvary is the same great Christ that will do the work in the Millennial Age. It is the same great Christ that began the work with His sacrifice on the cross, and has been carrying it out throughout this Gospel Age, and has been sacrificing himself in the flesh, namely—those whom he accepts, He has been sacrificing all through the Gospel Age; and He has not finished His sacrifice; and not until He has finished this work of His sacrifice will He make the full atonement, the full presentation. You remember, in the type, the High Priest, after he had killed the goat, took its blood and brought it into the Holy and then immediately into the Most Holy. It has taken, dear friends, more than these 1,800 years of the Gospel Age to kill the goat and to take the blood in; but it is His own blood, for, remember, "Ye are not your own." It was all given over before He did any work with it at all. Until you had made a full presentation and let go of it, He would not accept it. So, if you are still holding on to yourself, you are not His, and not a member of the Body at all. It is those who have given up all to the Lord, those who recognize that their all is in His hands, that it is His blood, [Page Q391] and He is doing for them, and eventually He will represent it, not as your blood, and you will not present it, and I will not present it, nobody will present it, except the great High Priest; you may be in Him as a member of His Body when that presentation takes place, but the whole responsibility, the whole merit rests in the Head of the Church. And when He shall present you before the Father and shall present the merit of the sacrifice, His own sacrifice it will be, you merely joining in as acceptable members in Him. Then it will be that the blood of the goat at the end of this Gospel Age will be fully presented to justice, and what then? What are we told? With that presentation to justice, the whole world shall be turned over to Christ. What to do with them? To do what He pleases with them. Well, what will He be pleased to do with them? The Scriptures tell, dear friends, of all the riches of God's grace and loving kindness Jesus will manifest during that thousand-year reign. Justice, you see, will let go the world there; justice will be satisfied there, so far as divine justice is concerned; and just as soon as justice turns over the world and is satisfied to turn it over to Christ, then all of this reign of sin and death comes to an end; it continues now because justice is not satisfied; because the world has not yet been turned over, and it is not yet turned over because the sacrifice is not yet complete; and not until the last member shall have finished his course, not until the last member of the Body of Christ shall have suffered with Christ, being made partakers of His sufferings, can this presentation before divine justice take place, and the transfer of the world to Christ be effected. Now, get that matter before your mind, and I think the whole matter of the satisfaction of justice will be clear. It is all the one satisfaction; it could have been done long ago; it is not done yet. It is not yet finished. Our Lord's sacrifice, which is the basis of all, was finished at Calvary, but He began the intermediate work of dealing with the Church which is His Body, and He has not finished the intermediate work of grace in you, and in me, and in this faithful class; but by and by He shall have finished it, and the same High Priest who presented the first sacrifice is the same High Priest who will present the second sacrifice, and that will bring the transfer of the world.
ANSWER—I answer that the claims of justice against the world are not satisfied at this present time, except that the world is under sin and justice is satisfied to hold on to the sinner. So we may claim that the justice is satisfied, but justice is not satisfied to let the sinner go and have eternal life.
Well, how does this text apply, that the Man Christ Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all? Why, dear brother, the giving of something for a particular purpose and then its application are two different things. We give an illustration: We might say that John Smith gave a million dollars to build a college to educate all the Scandinavians [Page Q392] on the Pacific Coast. It is one thing to give the million dollars, another to build the building, another to get the people into the building, and still another thing to educate them after you get them inside. When he gave the million dollars, he gave it for that purpose. So, when Jesus died, He gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time according to a purpose God has already marked out and from which He cannot deviate.
ANSWER—It is a mistake to express it that way. Justice is satisfied with sinners who turn from sin and have accepted God's provision in Christ. That is the "us" class. Such are no longer sinners in that they are not willful sinners. As long as you are a willful sinner you are a part of the world. It was after you have left sin and drawn nigh to him that he drew nigh to you. Still he did not receive you except as you came unto the Father through the Advocate.
Q392:2 QUESTION (1910)—2—Could Divine justice accept an application of the merit of the ransom-sacrifice for only a portion of the condemned race if there was to be no subsequent application? If so, please explain this principle of justice.
ANSWER—We have already explained it, that this is a misconception, for the ransom-sacrifice was already in the hands of Justice from the time our Lord finished his work, that it has not yet been applied for anybody in this sense of the word, except as his merit has been imputed to the Church. There is a difference between applying the merit, and imputing the merit. What the great High Priest will give to the world of mankind will not be an imputation of his merit, but the world will have that given back to them which was lost in Adam, and purchased or secured by the death of Christ. But not in the case of the Church. We are not to get restitution, we are not to get the things that Christ laid down, and that he will give to the world. We are not called to get restitution blessings, we are called to have the privilege of suffering and sacrificing with Christ. The only
difference is that our bodies are not perfect, and therefore we must ask the great High Priest to be our Advocate and impute enough of his merit to make good for our deficiencies, that we may be accepted of the Father.
ANSWER—Yes, I think it would be, as far as we know what justice is—as far as we are able to properly reason along the lines of justice. We should say, for instance, that a dog has no hope of a future life, and a dog's life is given as a synonym for a pretty rough and tumble experience. As some one would say, "He has led a dog's life." He does not [Page Q393] mean it was a very nice life. Shall we say that God arranged it so for the dogs that they have an injustice practiced against them in that they are permitted to live? No. They have a sort of happy day that fits their condition very well, they have their pleasant times—even when they wrangle over a bone. In man's case, sin against the divine law brought upon him the sentence of death, and then that death had the same operation against him it would have in all the rest of the animal creation. God owed him nothing; there was no obligation on God's part to do anything for man's recovery, and the sin, disaster, trouble, pain, sorrow, in the world, are not something that God has provided, but something that man's sin has brought upon himself. Hence there is no obligation on the part of justice to do anything for mankind. Nor is there anything in the present order of things which permits this reign of sin and death that would imply that divine justice had been derelict and unfaithful, that God should have done something more. I understand, therefore, all that God is to do in respect to man's recovery, restitution, etc., is all of grace, all of favor, and not of any necessity or demand of justice against him.
ANSWER—Divine Justice did not need to demand anything; Divine Justice took Adam without waiting to demand anything—Adam you die. Justice does not wait at all. Justice has not been waiting for these 6,000 years, but when God's love got ready to move it had to reckon with justice and God's love said, Here is this human family and my purpose is to bring them a blessing; I believe the lessons they have learned, the sorrows, the tears, the sighing and crying, might be made profitable to many of them if now they will be brought to a clear knowledge and opportunity of returning. And God's purpose is to give them an opportunity to return, but when God would carry out that loving purpose it became necessary, according to His own arrangements, to observe the sentence of His own justice and to meet the sentence of His own justice and provide a substitute. It was not that Justice demanded anything. Here I have this handkerchief; I am not demanding it, I have it already. So Justice was not demanding a substitute for Adam; Justice says, I have Adam. But when Love said, I would like to take Adam out of your hands and give him a further opportunity to come to everlasting life, Justice said If you take Adam out of my hand, put something else in it. So God made the requirement and provided the ransom price for all, Jesus Christ the Righteous.
ANSWER—The best answer to that question would be for me to suggest that the inquirer read the fifth volume of Studies in the Scriptures. He will get it all there so plainly that he could not think or see it any other way. If he [Page Q394] can, we would like to see what he looks like after he gets through reading it (laughter). Briefly: God's justice did not force anything upon our Lord Jesus Christ. Justice could not have forced our Lord Jesus to die for our sins. The Bible nowhere says that God forced Jesus to die for our sins; but the Bible does say, in full line with justice and in full line with love, that God has set before His Son a great and glorious proposition, leaving it open for Him to choose it or to disregard it; and the Bible says that He chose to accept that proposition and that in accepting that proposition He gave himself a ransom price. It was a voluntary matter so far as Christ was concerned. But the Father's proposition was this: that if the Son would manifest His love and obedience and loyalty to the extent of humbling himself to leave the heavenly plane and come to the earthly plane of being, and then would give himself completely unto death on man's behalf, and give up sacrificially this earthly nature in the interest of humanity, that God would appreciate all these demonstrations of love and that He would reward it; and the Bible goes on to say that God did reward it! and St. Paul says, speaking along this line, "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame." Mark you that it was not forced upon Him to endure the cross or despise the shame, for He himself states that He could call forth legions of angels for His own defense. He was not compelled to do one bit of it; but for the joy that was set before Him, for the great promise that God gave Him in respect to the Kingdom, in respect to the blessing of mankind and His own glorification, for these things He endured the cross and despised the shame. "Wherefore," says the Apostle, "God hath highly exalted Him and hath given Him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven and things in the earth." The things in Heaven already have bowed, acknowledged Him as Lord of lords, and things of earth will bow during the Millennial Age, for unto Him every knee shall bow.
ANSWER—Deposit was made of sufficient merit to satisfy for the sins of the whole world and on the strength of this Deposit, Justice was perfectly reconciled to the releasing of these members of the race who came into a special covenant-relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, who made a Covenant by Sacrifice.
ANSWER—Justice is always satisfied. Justice never lets go until it has an equivalent. Justice was satisfied, for instance, when Adam was condemned to death on account of transgression. Justice has been satisfied all along in holding Adam and his race for that sin. Justice is satisfied now to allow the Church to pass under the present conditions, because a deposit is in the hands of Justice fully equivalent to the requirements of the Church, and more. Justice will[Page Q395] not be satisfied to release mankind until the Ransom-price shall have been fully paid over into the hands of Justice. This will be after the Church is completed and glorified.
ANSWER—We answer that the world will be justified at the end of the Millennium. According to our understanding of the Scriptures, God's dealing with the world will not be the same as His dealing with the Church. Now, those who believe individually are reckoned as justified. Mark you, they are not justified, but reckoned as justified. The word justification means, to make right, and you know your body is not right and I know that my body is not right. Believing into the Lord Jesus Christ did not make the body right or set the organs in proper balance in your head, and did not grant you perfection of being at all. But when He comes to deal with the world, He will not so deal with them, the dealing with the world, as the Scriptures point out will be an actual justification, and instead of saying to the people, during the Millennium Age, now you are justified by faith, the message will be, You will now obey the law of this kingdom and if you are obedient you will make steps of progress back, back, back to perfection, and when you get back at the farther end of the Millennium, you will be perfect and you will be just. They will not be justified, but they will be just. So God's proposition is for the world, that of bringing them back to actual perfection.
ANSWER—We are justified through the blood of Jesus in the sense that we realize that the blood or death of Christ paid the penalty for sin, and that by God's grace and application of that blood to the household of faith since the day of Pentecost, to whosoever would receive it and come under its terms. In the present time it is being passed through the Church, and ultimately will be passed through Israel to all the world of mankind. but all the merit proceeds from the blood of Christ. That justifies us to the human nature. Nobody was ever justified to the spirit nature, nor had it given to them through justification. Justification signifies "making right." The whole world is under condemnation, unjust, unrighteous, and what they need to restore them to God as perfect men and women is justification, and during this age it is reckoned to them through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Now the other part of the question: What is it to be sanctified through the blood of the covenant? We are sanctified through the blood of the New Covenant, because it is the opportunity or privilege of coming into relationship [Page Q396] with that New Covenant, the privilege of coming into relationship with the sacrifice of Christ. How? The Lord Jesus invites you and me, now that we have been justified through the blood of Jesus, to consecrate ourselves, our lives, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. What for, why should we do it? In order that we may have a share thus in His suffering, in His sacrifice, that we may have a share, as members of His flesh now, that we may have a share with Him in laying down our blood, or our life, in connection with the sealing of the New Covenant, which, in connection with Israel, is to bless all the families of the earth. That is a very important question, and I am not certain that I have made it clear. Will all who do not see it clearly, please raise your hands. (No hands went up.) Well, I am very glad.
But by way of emphasizing the question, because of its importance, I might say that, justification comes through the blood of Jesus, while sanctification comes through our privilege of suffering with Him, in connection with the pouring out of our blood, or death of the old body, which is to seal the New Covenant. If that New Covenant were not to be sealed, then you and I would have no opportunity of laying down our lives with Jesus.
Q396:1 QUESTION (1909)—1—If a person is justified, and loves truth and righteousness, and wants to please the Heavenly Father, and then comes to understand Present Truth, and the difference between justification and sanctification, and the Divine Plan of the Ages in general; and then deliberately concludes not to consecrate, but is satisfied to be on the human plain, does the Lord hear their Prayers after they reach this point, if such a one is trying to overcome weaknesses of the flesh and asks the Lord's help? In what degree does the Lord help them, and how long can they remain in the justified condition?
ANSWER—I answer that justification by faith is the only justification that God has arranged for during this present time, and by "justification by faith," is meant that such a person is reckoned as being right or perfect. God's object in providing this reckoned justification is to give the individual an opportunity to consecrate himself, and thus to become a joint sacrifice with the Lord Jesus Christ, as a member of His Body. Consequently, this justification is not a matter for the world in general, but merely for those who desire to approach God for the purpose of making a sacrifice with our Lord. If, therefore, a person decides that he will not consecrate himself to the Lord, I would understand that from the time he had reached that conclusion, he would be considered from the Lord's standpoint as outside this class that the Lord intended to benefit, that he had had all the benefit from this knowledge, and had received the grace of God in vain, in the sense that he was not willing to use it. I should think that such a person would do well to consider that he has taken himself entirely out of God's special arrangement at the present time. He would still have, in conjunction with the world of mankind, an opportunity for restitution. But our thought is that he will not fare as well in the next age as some who had less opportunity and less privilege in the present time. They who [Page Q397]had much light have correspondingly much responsibility, and those who reject much light, correspondingly may expect many stripes.
ANSWER—We understand that justification by faith applies to the present age and to our salvation—the Church's salvation—which is called "salvation by faith" in contradistinction to the salvation that was offered to the Jews in their Age, the salvation by works, under the Law Covenant, and also in contrast with the salvation that will be offered to the Jews and to the world in the next Age, which will be a salvation by works under the New (Law) Covenant. In other words, this Gospel Age is the only Age in which faith takes the place of perfection. It is true, of course, that no Jew could have been justified before God by keeping the Law Covenant unless he had believed in God; and it is equally true that no one will be justified under the New Covenant arrangement except he believe in God and is in harmony with the arrangements that will then be open to all. However, this will not make it a faith-salvation, a salvation by faith, but a salvation by works—the works of the Law.
The works of the Law were unable to save the Jews during the Jewish dispensation because they could not keep the Law, and because there was no arrangement made through an efficient mediator to lift them up out of their degradation, but this arrangement has been made future for all Israel and all who will come in under this arrangement in the Millennial Age. They will be enabled to perform the works. They will be helped out of their degradation. So we read in Revelation that the sea will give up her dead, the grave will give up the dead that are in it, and that they shall all stand before the great white throne during the Millennial Age, and shall all be judged out of the things written in the book; according to their works shall they be judged, then. The distinctive statement made regarding us now is that it is not according to our works that we are judged, but according to our faith. So, then, there will be faith and works in the Millennial Age, and there are faith and works in this Gospel Age; but the faith of the Millennial Age will be less meritorious in proportion because everything will be very plain and easy to believe, and hence it will not be the faith that will be specially rewarded then, but the works. In this Age faith takes the most important place, and we are not rewarded according to our works, for we have none to reward. But it is the faith that will be rewarded.
Faith and works apply to both ages, but in the one age it is the faith that is rewarded, and in the other the works will be rewarded. In the one, faith is the standard or test of whether one is worthy or unworthy and in the other works will be the standard or test of whether one is worthy or unworthy of eternal life.
Galatians 3:8 seems very particularly to show that the reference is to the Gentiles who are justified through faith and not by works; hence, we understand that this text[Page Q398] applies to the Gospel Age in the sense that God foresaw that during this Gospel Age he would justify certain of the Gentiles through faith, just as he intended also to justify some of the Jews through faith. The Gentiles never were under the Law of works, but are accepted under the Gospel arrangement, by faith.
Q398:1 QUESTION (1910)—l—What is the difference between the justified condition of the Ancient Worthies in their day, and the measure of justification of those who have not gone on to consecration in this Gospel Age?
ANSWER—We answer that one made consecration and the other did not. We are in a justified state from the time we turn from sin, but the justification is only a part, only as far as we have gone. It is just the same as if you were going to the City Hall, and we should ask, Where are you going? To the City Hall. Later on, we would ask, Why, are you still going? Yes, I am not there. So with justification; you start out and you will have to keep going until the very end or your justification will not be completed. The only thing God will accept is full consecration. The Ancient Worthies did make a consecration, and God accepted them. He said, if those men had perfect bodies they would not do anything wrong. I will count them as though they had perfect bodies. Only in a prospective sense were they justified in life, which they will get "in due time." They must wait until the due time, after Jesus has made "reconciliation for iniquity," before they will get the benefit of their justification, and reach the full perfection of being in the resurrection.
ANSWER—During this Gospel Age, dear friends, God is calling out sons, and that is the whole work of this Gospel Age. Adam was originally a son, but he failed, became disloyal to his Heavenly Father, and was not worthy to be further called a son of God, and was sentenced to death, and so you and I were all born with a share of that condemnation, so that we were not worthy to be called his sons. God purposed that eventually he would give the whole world an opportunity to come back into sonship during Messiah's reign. Now, during this present time, he proposes something for a special class, those who have an ear to hear and the heart to appreciate when they do hear, and he is calling to see how many have the ear. Many are called. Many hear the call, but few are chosen, for the reason that many refuse to respond to this call when they hear it. God wishes some to deny themselves and to walk in the way of righteousness. The majority of the people hear the call, and say, I think I will pay attention by and by, but will taste of sin a while first, so the call passes them by. Whether they hear it again after it has passed by or not, is another question. There are some, who when they hear are of a different disposition, they appreciate and lay hold upon it, and are thus accepted of the Lord to the extent that they lay hold. When immediately they turn [Page Q399] from sin, they are turning toward righteousness. What is righteousness? Justification is righteousness. If those two words can be held together as meaning the same thing, you have something that will assist you to know what justification means. Justification means that which is right, so that when you turn from sin to serve the living God, that was a conversion, a turning round, from sin to the way of righteousness. That was a measure of justification. The heart was coming into the right attitude toward God and he began to draw near to you. The Lord said, "Draw near to me and I will draw near to you" and as you drew near to the Lord, he came a little nearer toward you. Now you were in a justified condition all the time. That is to say, your justification was not perfect, not righteous in the absolute sense, but in a condition which God approves-turning from sin to righteousness. Therefore we call that justification, or the condition that leads up to ultimately attaining justification. I do not know how long you may have been in this condition of knowing God's will, but whether a longer or shorter time, God showed you if you would be one of his sons what the conditions of said sonship were, namely, that you must love righteousness so much, and hate iniquity so much, that you will be ready to lay down your life in the service of righteousness and truth, and in opposition to the wrong. Now it is not everybody that is willing to lay down life, to give up the pleasures of sin, or of the world, and of earthly objects, and aims and hopes—not all are ready to follow in the Master's footsteps; therefore the words of Jesus came to such, "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny self (give up his own will), take up his cross (in the sense of being sacrificed, even of earthly interests) and follow me." It is plainly stated. He has come as far as he can, up to that point. Now be bears the Master's words. He wanted to he a disciple, when he first turned from sin. He began to draw near unto God, his standard of righteousness and now he has come up to the point when the Lord shows him what is the final test by which he may be accepted as a son. He cannot be a son and be justified to life, except upon one condition. If he wants to have restitution, etc. God says, I have a provision for that by and by, during Messiah's reign, with all the rest of the world, and I will see that the way is a shining way, that knowledge will be there, etc., but if you want to come now, there is just one way left open. "Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life." That will take you out of this death condition. It's narrow and there is only the one way. Had you seen the gate when you started you might not have entered, but when you have come a certain distance he shows you the terms of sonship, and no one has the right to make the terms one whit less than God shows, namely, deny self, take up your cross, and follow me. If, then coming to the condition, you say. I am ready to do thy will what would he say? Paul tells us in Rom. 12:1. My brethren, this a blessed thing, this is a grand opportunity, so grand to be privileged to come in now, under this high calling, and become joint heirs with Christ in his kingdom. The world does not know it, but to you it is given to know because you had this inclination to feel after righteousness, and God has gra- [Page Q400]graciously made known to you something respecting this call, and the terms and conditions. Now, then, take the step, and so he says, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God (these mercies that you have been enjoying while you have been drawing near to him), present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." That is the only way you can get it.
What is the philosophy of it? Well, now, we are not saying that those who do not enjoy the philosophy cannot enjoy the fact. Before you ever heard of the ransom and what it signified, you enjoyed the benefits of it, though you did not understand the philosophy, and you were accepted as children of God—I was, before I knew God in the sense that we now speak of God and his plan. I had given my heart to the Lord, and he had given me the spirit of sonship, whereby I called him Abba, Father, without a knowledge of the philosophy, and I had to take the step of consecration before I could know the philosophy. But now in this day, when the Lord is permitting a whirlwind of error to sweep down upon his people, and to call his book a fable, and to allow higher criticism to make light of his Word, now he is giving us something whereby we may be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. He is permitting us to understand his word and the philosophy of the atonement, that the Lord Jesus is the great Redeemer. You realize that you were already condemned to death, that you had nothing whatever to offer to God but that as you accepted Christ in your mind and realized that he is the Son of God, the Redeemer of mankind, and thus the basis of your faith in him, you presented your body a living sacrifice, and your Redeemer stepped forth to be your and my Advocate, and then your sacrifice and mine could be acceptable to God with its imperfections, because of his imputed merit, which made them holy in his sight, and at the very moment he imputed his merit, that moment the Father could accept you. Then he gave you a token of his acceptance, by the impartation of the Holy Spirit. You are begotten again, you are new creatures, you have received the culmination of your justification. Everything was leading up to it. It was at the moment when you gave up, and Jesus put his merit to it, that the Father accepted the same. Now, then, this is in accord with this whole thought, "My son, give me thine heart." We are treated as sons in a relative way, the moment we turn from sin, because we wish to be sons, and he is dealing with us as sons. Just as you and I today, if one is here meeting with us, and is seeking to turn from sin to the Lord we say, brother or sister, even if they have not made the full consecration. They belong to the household of faith, but they will not be sons in the full sense, until they do make the consecration. When we see them take the final step and receive a blessing of the Lord, and acceptance of them as children of God, we are glad, and then the matter they started out for is accomplished, but all the way down they are treated as sons, because they desire and are approaching that glorious standard.
ANSWER.—We are tentatively justified from the moment we turn our backs upon sin, and turn toward God with longing desire and with good intentions of heart. Here is an individual who has been delving in sin, and walking according to the flesh, and he hears and comes to some understanding that this is the wrong course, and that God is willing he should draw nigh to him. So he is converted, turned around, and now he is facing toward God, and begins to take steps in that direction, and puts away the filth of the flesh, and strives to walk in a more orderly way. If he has been a drunkard, he puts away his cup, if he has been vile in some other respect, he puts away those vile practices, and he seeks to draw nigh unto God. Now, what is the Lord's attitude toward him? The Lord says, "Draw nigh unto me and I will draw nigh unto you." So he goes a little nearer. Now, what is his attitude? We speak of him as being in a justified attitude. Why so? Justified means right. He is not fully right yet, but he is in that attitude; he is making an approach toward the right. He is there tentatively; to be spoken of as a justified person; he is seeking to walk righteously. So he draws nearer, and as he draws nearer, he says, "Now, Lord, I would like to come very near and be your child." Well, the Lord says, "Now that you have come this near, I will explain what is necessary."
"Lord, I would like to know upon what terms I can be fully your child and receive your Spirit, and receive share in all that glorious inheritance which you have provided in Jesus for those who will be joint-heirs."
"Well," the Lord answers, "they are very severe terms. They are very strict terms. You must take up your cross and follow the Master. You must be prepared to lay down all that you have, even life itself, in my service. Only thus can you become a child of mine in the full sense of the word, because this is the only class I am calling now."
"Well, but you cannot do right; in your own flesh there is no perfection, and you cannot be right; you can never approach me on the basis of the law, because by the deeds of the law, no flesh can be justified.
"O, yes, he is prepared to deal with you as with all the remainder of the world; he is prepared to be your Mediator under the new covenant arrangement; he is prepared to bring you restitution to full perfection and harmony with God as Adam had, and that Adam lost."
"Well, you cannot come now, except under the call that I have issued now; the call which I now have issued is the call we term the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, to become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to an [Page Q402] inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven. This heavenly call is the only one that is open now, and the heavenly call demands a full consecration of your life to the Lord, and to follow in the foot steps of Jesus. If you do not now wish to take this step, stand aside."
You see, this one has been tentatively justified up to this time. Now he has come to the place where he has knowledge, he knows what the Lord requires of him, and if he takes the step of consecration he will be begotten of the Spirit a new creature; and this will continue until the last number of the elect shall be completed. But if he does not, then his tentative justification lapses; it does not hold up; it is not confirmed; it is not made actual or vital. The only way in which this faith—justification—is made actual, or vital, is by consecration.
Now, suppose he consecrates. "Now, Lord, I have sat down and counted the cost. I have concluded to accept your terms; I give you my whole heart and everything I am and have; I make a full surrender. 'Use it, Lord, in ways of thine." Now, having made that consecration, the great Advocate becomes his personal Advocate, and imputes of his merit to cover his blemishes, so that his consecration may he accepted by the Father; and in that way his justification is vitalized, it is made complete; it is made a living justification, he is justified to life; and then being justified to life in that same moment he presents that justified life a living sacrifice, acceptable to God, a living consecration that God accepts through Christ as a sacrifice; that is the vitalizing of that justification. Up to that point it was not made vital; it was merely a tentative one. He was going in the right direction, and God treated him patiently and encouraged him to go on until he got to the point where he must decide. If he decided to give up all, then the great Advocate vitalized his justification, and by faith he was recognized as being perfect, and by faith he was recognized as presenting himself, and God accepted the sacrifice.
Now, in the world's case in the next age, justification will not be by faith, but by works. You remember, in the book of Revelation where it speaks of the world coming forth to their day of judgment, we read, "They were all judged, every man according to his works."
The test, then, will be works; the test now is faith. Why not works now? Because you cannot work perfectly. Why not? Because you have imperfect bodies, and because God is dealing at the present time along this line—he is treating with those who, with imperfect bodies have perfect minds, perfect wills, fully submitted to his will. And thus he draws that new will, that new mind, and justifies the new creature and accepts the consecration, and the matter is thus vitalized. But for the world in the next age, all through that thousand years they will be coming up, up, to perfection, and every day they will be getting more justified, more justified, and more justified, and they will be getting more nearly right every day. So they will be approaching gradual justification, and every one of that time who will be in the right way, and seeking to be in harmony with the Lord, will be said to be tentatively justified; but his justification will not be reached in the same way as ours, as he would be coming up gradually out of his [Page Q403] imperfection and he would be justified actually when he would reach full perfection. Then he would be put right, perfect, and being in that condition at the end of the thousand years, the Mediator would step from between and allow that just, perfect person, to be presented to the Father. And he would he acceptable to the Father, and then would stand the trial to see whether or not he would be willing and able to stand the tests. Just as Adam was perfect and in harmony with God, and was subjected to a test, so all the world of mankind in their perfection will be subjected to a test. So, in Revelation we read, that at that time, after Christ shall have delivered over the kingdom to the Father, and the thousand years are finished, and the Mediator shall step from between, then Satan will be loosed that he may test all who dwell on the face of the whole earth, the number of whom will be as the sand of the seashore. Those who shall succumb to the temptation will be those who have not the proper condition of heart, and God will give them no further opportunity. They have had all the blessings ever intended for them. And those who will stand the temptation of that time will have the grand entrance into the everlasting condition, fully approved of God, as worthy of life everlasting.
Q403:1 QUESTION (1911-Z)—1—Do you understand the Scriptures to teach, either directly or indirectly, through the Parallels of the Jewish Dispensation, that it was necessary that all who would eventually constitute the "little flock" must have been in a justified condition previous to October, 1881?
ANSWER.—Both. That is to say, the completion' of justification is at consecration'. No one has his justification complete, or full, unless he has consecrated himself. Our justification begins when we turn toward that which is just or right, and away from that which is unjust; and we get more justification, more nearly right (for justification means being right), as we proceed toward consecration. When our justification has progressed to the point of full consecration, only then are we recognized as begotten of the Spirit, and as branches in the Vine, pictured by the Lord in the 15th chapter of John. In the picture of the olive tree the same is true. Only spiritual branches are grafted into this "olive tree."
The question is doubtless based upon Rom. 11:17, where the Apostle tells us that the Jewish nation represented the olive tree which had the good root. The root of the olive tree was the definite promise made to Abraham—"In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." (Gen. 12:3.) The promise then began to produce branches. Every individual Jew claimed to be connected with this Abrahamic Covenant. The Apostle tells us that because of unfaithfulness many of these branches were broken off. The time that they were broken off was during that forty-year period which began with our Lord's ministry and ended with the destruction of Jerusalem.
During that time all the branches that were not fit to be kept in were broken off, and those that were fit to stay in were "cleansed by the washing of water through the Word," and transferred from Moses into Christ, and begotten of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle proceeds to say that ever since the Jewish branches were broken off God has been gathering branches out of the Gentiles, and that we are being grafted in instead of those broken off branches. Thus you and I may get into the olive tree. We who were by nature children of wrath, aliens, are now grafted into the real tree through which the blessing is to come.
If we can get into that olive tree, into that Vine, into Christ, the next thing to do is to abide in Him. There are certain tests applied; and those who do not conform to those tests will not be permitted to abide, but will be cut off. Respecting the Vine the Great Teacher said, "Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He (the Father) taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (John 15:2.) So, if we have the trimmings and prunings that He gives to the fruit-bearing branches, let us rejoice that we are in the good Husbandman's care and are in good condition. If we abide in the true Vine the time is not very far distant when we, with the remainder of the Church, will be glorified and constitute the Kingdom of Messiah, which in turn shall bless natural Israel and, through natural Israel, all the nations of the earth.
Q404:1 QUESTION (1913-Z)—l—Have you changed your views respecting the justification of the Church, so that the presentations of Studies in the Scriptures, Volume I, on this subject no longer represent your thought?
ANSWER.—Surely not! If we have, why would we continue to publish and circulate the Volume? "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." So the subject of our justification is clarifying daily to many of the Lord's dear people. Features of justification not previously discerned by them are now very clear. For instance, many failed to see in the past, and some still fail to see, that justification by faith is a gradual process. Each step of faith brought us nearer to the climax.
But the climax was not wholly reached until our faith manifested its perfection by our obedience and full surrender in consecration to the Lord. Then our great Advocate accepted our consecrated bodies and imputed to them of His merit, absolutely justifying them in the sight of Justice—the Heavenly Father. Then it was that the Heavenly Father accepted that completely justified soul by the begetting of the Holy Spirit. Thenceforth he was a New Creature, and a son begotten to the spirit plane.
During the period of progress in faith, justification was being gradually approached, and the individual had more and more of the Divine favor. But not until the final step was taken did he become fully justified to human nature—a son on the earthly plane. And only for an instant did he there remain. Then the begetting of the Holy Spirit in dictated the acceptance of the sacrifice of the perfected one, and started him as a New Creature.
All this is indicated in the Chart of the Ages. Plane N' represents the justified condition in its various steps. Thus Abraham and others of the Old Testament times were justified before God by their faith. They were not justified to life, not justified even to sonship. They were justified to God's friendship, favor and supervisory care. After Jesus had died, risen, ascended and made application of His merit on the Church's behalf, He became the Advocate of all this class, desirous of walking in His steps in full consecration. The imputation of His merit constitutes for each one the work of justification, and this makes it possible for God to accept his sacrifice and to beget him to the new nature.
Abraham was styled God's friend, because of his faith and desire for harmony with God. So was John the Baptist, of whom we read, "The friend of the Bridegroom * * * rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom's voice." The term "servant" is in the Bible specially applied to those Jews who were under the Mosaic Law Covenant. By that Covenant they enjoyed God's care and blessing, and were permitted to be His servants. Although many of them, as well as Abraham, were friends of God, and would have been fully qualified for all the sonship privileges, nevertheless it was not possible, in harmony, with the Divine arrangement, for them to be recognized as sons. For, as the Apostle explains, a "son abideth forever," and not until Christ's sacrifice had opened the way for the cancellation of sin and death, could any be received to Divine sonship.
Likewise our standing even now as sons of God is tentative. If we abide in God's love, we shall abide as His sons and be perfected in due time. But if any man draw back to wilful sin and its service, he will lose his sonship. His name will be blotted out of the Lamb's Book of Life. The Advocate with the Father would cease to recognize him. He would have no standing with the Son, and another would be permitted to take his place as a member of the Body of the Anointed.
Thus the Apostle declares, "Now are we the sons of God in embryo', and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear our Redeemer, our Head', we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2.) That is to say, our present sonship is tentative. The actual sonship will begin after we shall have passed our probationary trial. As many as shall prove acceptable by their faith and loyalty will be made sons in the fullest sense, by the glorious resurrection change. Thus we see that as none are fully received to plane N' until they have gone the full length of consecration, so none will be fully received to sonship until they shall have reached plane L.
Although the Ancient Worthies, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the Prophets, etc. (Heb. 11:38-40), could not be styled sons of God, and were not so named, it was not because they were not worthy of such a station and such a name. The Apostle draws our attention to this, assuring us that they "pleased God," and nothing pleases Him short of perfection of heart. The only thing which hindered their acceptance as sons was the necessity that first the Atonement [Page Q406]blood should be presented on their behalf. In the "better resurrection" which the Ancient Worthies will experience, they will, we understand, come forth perfect men. They will be perfect as was Adam before his sin, and with minds, hearts and wills developed, exercised, tested, proved loyal to God. In that perfect condition they will be samples of what all mankind may attain by obedience during Messiah's Reign.
From the moment of their resurrection, these perfect men would have the same right to come to God as had Adam, and would be as fully entitled to be called sons of God as was Adam, except for one thing. And that is, that the Ancient Worthies, as well as the rest of mankind, will be in the hands of the great Mediator of the New Covenant for the thousand years of His Messianic Kingdom. And, according to the Scriptures, not until the end of that period will He deliver up the Kingdom to the Father.
Hence we understand that the Ancient Worthies will have no direct dealing with the Father as sons, and no direct recognition from Him as such, until the end of Christ's Reign, when He will deliver over to the Father all things, that He may be "all in all," and that all may be directly subject to Him. During the thousand years, however, under Christ's Mediatorial arrangements, the Ancient Worthies, perfected, and all others, in proportion to their attainment of perfection, will enjoy privileges and blessings, because they will no longer be under a reign of sin and death and of Satan, the "Prince of this World," but under the Prince of Life and His reign of Righteousness unto Life.
ANSWER.—There are none justified who do not go on to consecration. There are those who take steps looking toward justification; that is, they come into a justified attitude, they are drawing near to God, but they do not reach the place where they are counted as having been pardoned and reconciled to God through the death of His Son until they come to that place where they make the full surrender. As, for instance, the entire call of this Gospel Age is for the Royal Priesthood. Ye are all called in one hope of your calling. It is not that some are called to justification, and then some others called to sanctification, but the one invitation that goes out is, God has caused the way to be opened up and whosoever will may draw nigh to God since Jesus has died and redemption has been arranged for. Whosoever will may now approach if he has an ear to hear and understand. Look at the Tabernacle as being God's picture of this matter. We see that those who approached the Tabernacle might be at a distance, and they are drawing nearer and nearer. When they come to the door, the gate, there they see first of all the gate itself, which is an embroidered gate, and which tells in a figurative way certain lessons about the necessity for the forgiveness of sins, symbolically; and they look past the gate and see the altar of sacrifice standing right in front of them. That means they cannot make any further progress unless they believe in the sacrifice of Christ which that altar represents, and if [Page Q407] they are of good courage to still go on they go past the altar, being more nearly justified—not completely justified, you see, but being more nearly justified. That is, they are approaching more and more closely to the justified condition. Then they go on a little farther and they see the laver filled with water put there for the washing away of the wilderness filth—the filth of the flesh. They say, I would like to be cleaner than I am, and that means putting away of some of the filth of the flesh; it means they are striving to be more nearly in harmony with the laws of divine righteousness which they come to see more and more clearly. Then finally they come right up to the door of the Tabernacle, and there according to the picture, if they are the Lord's they are tied—tied to the gate. In other words, the goat was brought and tied at the door of the Tabernacle—not at the outside door, the gateway, but tied at the door of the Tabernacle proper; and that means the presentation of your body as a living sacrifice. The goat was not dead, but was a living goat when it was tied there, and that represents how you, as one of the goats by nature, was tied up, or consecrated, or bound to the Lord, presented your body a living sacrifice. Now nothing more could be done except what the High Priest would do. The next step was for the High Priest to come and accept that goat in sacrifice by killing it, and that meant that your consecration to the Lord was accepted of Him through the High Priest; you do not directly kill your own goat, but you bring yourself to the Lord and present yourself to the Lord, and if it is acceptable to the Father at all it will be because He accepts that goat as being a part of Himself, and a part of His sacrifice. Then because it is His sacrifice, justified by the merit of His atonement, therefore it is acceptable with the Father. All of His sacrifices are accepted, and thus we are accepted in the Beloved, and from the moment of the acceptance of our sacrifice we are in Christ, members of that High Priest, no longer of the goat, but now counted in as part of the High Priest who is officiating in all the work. So we are members of the Body of Christ, and this Christ of which you are members was typified by that Great High Priest, and the anointing oil came on the head representing the Holy Spirit that came on Jesus, and subsequently ran down clear to the skirts of the garment, thus covering, or acknowledging, or begetting of the spirit all of those whom He accepts as members of His Body. This, then, is the completion of our justification. It is a very fortunate arrangement when we think of it, because if we were accepted of God at the time of our first coming to Him before we had really made a consecration, and if He would impute His merit to us then, there would be no more for us to have in the future, for when once the merit of Christ is imputed there is no more to be imputed. In other words, when Christ died for our sins there was one share for you and one share for me, and one share for each member of the race. When you get your share you will never have it duplicated. If you misuse that share after you get it that is your responsibility, you are not to get a second share, Christ dies no more, death will have no more dominion over Him, and He makes an imputation of His merit only once on behalf of the human family; you get [Page Q408] your share, and each other member gets his share. The thought then, is, you see, that if God would accept us and justify us and thus give us the merit of Christ, and we do not go on to make our sacrifice, then we would lose all the privileges of the future; there would be no hope for such a person in the future life that he might get it under Christ's Kingdom because he has had it now. Therefore, God kindly arranges the matter that we may approach and may speak of ourselves as being in a justified attitude, and our families as being in a justified attitude, in the sense that they are drawing nearer to God and feeling sympathetic with His arrangements, and thinking more and more about where they will take the great step and complete the great transaction which God has offered; namely, present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable. If you do present it, and in time, then it is acceptable to the Father, and the moment it is accepted is the moment of your begetting; then you are a New Creature. So there is just one moment between; there must be the instantaneous moment when you will be justified according to the flesh, and it is just the same consecutive moment that you are accepted, because all that God is waiting for to accept any of us is that our sins should be forgiven and Christ should present us; and He does that the moment you are ready. So He says, If any man will be My disciple I am ready to be his advocate. If you want to be My disciple take up your cross and follow me.
Q408:1 QUESTION (1913)—1—In Tabernacle Shadows, page 21, paragraph 3, it says: "We see, then that justification by faith, our first step toward holiness, brings us into a condition of peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). When our sins are forgiven, or reckonedly covered with Christ's righteousness, we are a step nearer to God, but still human in the court." What does the covering of Christ's righteousness mean here? Is it a receiving of the robe?
ANSWER.—Justification means "to make right." It does not signify a change of nature, merely means to make right that nature which was. In our Lord's case, fully justified in His trial or testing of His faith which proved Him to be just and perfect; but in our case we recognize we are all sinners, there is none just, none righteous, no, not one; when we, therefore, approach God, before we can have anything to do with sacrificing, we must be justified, that is, made right; our sins and imperfections must be set aside either actually or reckonedly, and thus justified by faith. The world will get her justification in the next age, but not by faith, an actual one. Their justification will be a gradual one; as they obey the laws of the Kingdom they will become more clearly perfect mentally, morally and physically until at the end of the thousand years when they will have reached human perfection they will be justified, right, perfect. It will not be justification by faith, but the process of works which the Master will arrange for that time for the world. But the Church is justified by faith; it is reckonedly to us; it is counted to us; we are not actually made right or perfect; we are merely reckoned perfect, the Lord imputing His merit to us and making up for our deficiency. [Page Q409] That constitutes us right or acceptable. For what purpose? for the purpose of this Gospel Age. And what is the purpose of this Gospel Age? That we may offer sacrifice holy and acceptable to God; that is the only object for one if permitted to come near to God. God's time for allowing the whole world to come near Him is that time during the Kingdom, but now He has opened up a new way for us who are desirous of being sacrificed as the Master was sacrificed for us, who are desirous of laying down our lives, giving up all our human rights and interests. There is a new way opened up for us entered, first, by justification, and secondly, by the acceptance of that justified person or body. God could not accept us as a sacrifice unless first we were justified. Now, it is not necessary that we should be justified for a year, ten years, or ten months, but justification must come first, for God cannot accept an imperfect sacrifice. We must be made right by the imputation of Christ's righteousness; and we believe that the very next instant after Christ has imputed His merit, the very next minute the Father accepts our sacrifice and grants us the indication that we are accepted by giving us the Holy Spirit. Taking the picture of the Tabernacle, we see that none are permitted to go into the Holy except the priests, and so if we are ever permitted to go in, it is because God accepts us as priests, and He will accept us as priests if we go by the terms and requirements He has arranged. We endeavor to draw near to God because we know that He desires us to draw near Him, as it is written, "Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you." We come to the gate looking beyond, we see the brazen altar which speaks to us of justification on our behalf, because that altar is always symbolical of sacrifice. As we face the altar it signifies that we believe and accept the fact that Christ died for our sins; all who do not believe that are represented as being outside; all who pass inside accept the death of our Lord for the forgiveness of their sins. We are drawing nearer to God, and we go on until we approach the laver, in which is water for washing, for cleansing, washing the hands and the feet before entering in. This signifies that we must put away the filth of the flesh if we desire to be of the priestly few. But we are still drawing near to God and are said to be in a justified condition from the time that we enter the gate and see the altar and accept of His forgiveness and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; at the laver we are said to be in the justified condition; we are going in the right direction, we are becoming more reconciled to God every step we take, until we come right up to the door of the Tabernacle. There, according to the type, the goat was tied, representing our full consecration to the Lord. We are now acceptable to the Father and this was represented as accomplished when the High Priest comes out of the Tabernacle and lays His hand upon the goat and kills the goat. By laying His hand upon the goat He signifies that He has accepted it as a sacrifice, as a part of His sacrifice. That means He has imputed to us His merit, for He would not begin to offer except by imputing the merit. The laying of His hand would represent the imputing of His merit and the killing the acceptance of our consecration. All this is before we enter in at all and before we receive the new nature, [Page Q410]but the moment He does that He receives us as members of His body that we may be counted in with Him and pass with Him into the first place, the Holy, and there, the Apostle says, we sit together with Christ in the Heavenlies. We have already entered into the Holy, and there privileged to enjoy the light of the golden candlestick, the privileges of prayer, as represented by the golden altar, and spiritual feasting, as represented by the tables of shew-bread. After we have done all our part in coming to the Lord, accepting the sacrifice at the altar and coming to the laver and doing what we could to wash away the filth of the flesh and purifying ourselves, then we have come here up to the door and tied ourselves here and made a consecration, presented ourselves, as the Apostle says, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice," but we do not do our own killing; we do not do the sacrificing ourselves; He does all the sacrificing. It is not everybody who offers sacrifices and we were not priests; we were merely represented by the goat; the goat could not sacrifice itself ; it is the High Priest who sacrificed the goat, and so we are accepted of the Father in the beloved for He is the Father's agent in all dealings with the Church.
ANSWER.—Both Jehovah and Jesus justify. The Apostle says, "It is God that justifieth." (Rom. 8:33.) We are justified through faith in the blood of Jesus. God's justification is provided through the blood of Jesus. God's justification was not provided for any one apart from the blood of Christ. It was necessary first for Christ to die, before anyone could be justified. Even as the Apostle says, "By the grace of God He tasted death for every man." (Heb. 2:9.) No one who preceded Christ had anything more than a tentative justification, no matter who he was. This actual justification depended upon what Jesus would do on the cross.
It is God that justifies; for it was God who condemned. It was not Jesus who put Adam on trial. Adam did not sin against Jesus nor against any law of Jesus, but against the Father's Law, against Divine Justice. It was Divine Justice that brought the sentence against Adam. Therefore he cannot be justified except Divine Justice first be satisfied. Before we can be justified we must come into a certain condition ourselves, and then we must have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous. This Advocate is the great High Priest whom God has set apart for this service; and God accepts us on the basis of that High Priest's atonement work.
Q410:2 QUESTION (1916)—2—In a recent expression from your pen it was stated that there could be no legal justification without actual justification; but that if it was legal, it was actual. How can this be true? Is not the justification of the Church at present legal, and their perfection reckoned, not actual?
ANSWER.—The written statement made is a correct one; but the questioner has not the proper view of the matter. [Page Q411] The mistake in the mind of the questioner is this: He thinks of the New Creature as being justified. But the New Creature did not need justification, and never did need it. The New Creature has done nothing wrong. It was the old man that was the sinner, that inherited sinful tendencies and that was under condemnation. It was this old man that needed to be justified before he could become a New Creature; and this justification must be an actual one—a bona fide one. We are justified—not that we hope to be; but being justified we have been accepted by the Father.
It is an actual transaction, and took place, so far as we are individually concerned, at the time when we put ourselves over into our Lord's hands by a full consecration; and at that time Jesus accepted us. That was real—so real that henceforth God counts us as dead, and will no longer recognize us as having any right to restitution or anything else human. As the scriptures declare, "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." The New Creature is addressed here, and the New Creature does not need justification. It was the old creature that was justified; and the evidence that you have that it was justified is that you have received the Holy Spirit, your old life is henceforth dead, and your new life has begun; and that new life is in Christ, and with that new life alone God will deal.
In the Lord's arrangements He does not justify each one individually as though each one had to wait until the Lord was through with other matters. This whole matter was arranged for and attended to in advance. Our Redeemer imputed the merit for us in the beginning once for all. We are all represented in that one act. The whole Church was included when He appeared in the presence of God for us. (Heb. 9:24.) The imputation made at that time was sufficient for the whole Church, and by that merit we are justified. We get our share of this imputation when we comply with the conditions, the terms. The High Priest deals with us along automatic lines. Jesus accepts as many as will come unto God according to his own terms. He made provisions for the sins of the Church over eighteen hundred years age; and if He receives you, He receives you in the Father's name. We get our share in the provisions made by the High Priest, and we comply with the conditions of a full consecration of ourselves to God. It is the same as the Pentecostal blessing, which was given to the Church once for all in the beginning, and each member of the Church gets his share when he comes into Christ. When one becomes rightly related to the head he receives his share of the anointing. You are a member of the body of Christ and have your share of the blessings of the Anointed company. It is thus the imputation made by the High Priest for the whole Church at the beginning of the Gospel Age, works automatically in the way of justifying each individual when he presents his body a living sacrifice.
ANSWER.—They are approaching justification. These steps of tentative justification in the Court are simply leading him to the point of vitalizing his justification. Jesus[Page Q412] justifies at the Door of the Tabernacle; but He does not justify a person who merely wishes to put away the filth of the flesh. Only when one comes to the Door, ties himself up and makes a covenant with God, can he be fully justified. There the High Priest is ready to impute to him His righteousness and to accept him as a member of the Body of Christ—while at the door.
If the Lord should justify any one just as soon as he entered the Gate and came into the Court to the Brazen Altar, there must, of course, be some object in that justification. What could the object be? The object of justification is to make one amenable to or ready for the reception of the Holy Spirit. If, therefore, he should be justified at the Brazen Altar and receive the Holy Spirit, all his earthly chances or privileges would be gone. He might want to go out—as many do—but it would be too late if positive justification had taken place. Whoever has not come to the point of making a Covenant with God, has not given up his restitution rights. Until his consecration, he still has an opportunity for these in the future, in the Millennial Age. But whoever makes this consecration and is accepted by the Lord, will never get restitution or anything else on the human plane in the future Age. In mercy, therefore, the Lord does not recognize any one until he has taken all these steps in just such a tentative justification, has thoroughly decided that he wants to be the Lord's disciple, and has truly said so after he has sat down and counted the cost. Until he has come to this point of decision, the Lord will have nothing to do with him. But if he will bind himself up to that door by way of making a covenant with God, then the Lord will take charge of him and make everything work together for his good—but not until after he has taken that step.
ANSWER.—In the Court is shown what we term a tentative justification'. Suppose now that this room were the court; that the Tabernacle were down there at the other end entered by those doors; that at this end we have the white curtain running all around, instead of these walls; and that right in front here we have the Brazen Altar. Anybody entering into the Court condition would thereby intimate that he has a desire to draw near to the Lord. God is represented by the Holy or Holies, away back there; and away over here represents the general condition of the world. The person seeking God, draws near as he enters the gate and comes to the Brazen Altar. He sees this Altar and what it means. To him it means that he knows that he is a sinner, and has no means of access to God except by way of sacrifice for sin. He recognizes that the sacrifice was necessary to make atonement for sin. Seeing that, he says, "I do not wish to stop here, but to go on to that polished copper Laver, in which there is water for the purpose of washing away the defilements of the wilderness—the feet and the hands especially.
Here at the Laver he begins to wash, and thus signifies that he recognizes the necessity of cleansing, even after he has beheld the sacrifice on the Altar. He says, "I see the [Page Q413] necessity for a cleansing of myself from sin and defilements which came to me in common with the world of mankind on the outside of the Court." This washing at the Laver means, of course, that he does some cleansing of himself. This is the right disposition; and unless he has this disposition, the blood on the brazen Altar would not benefit him. By going to the Laver he shows that he desires to be cleansed from the filth of the flesh, to be cleansed in word, in thought and in act from everything that is defiling and wrong.
After ridding himself of the impurities of the flesh at the Laver, he may wish to draw still nearer to God. He can come as near as the curtain, no nearer; for the First Veil represents the death of the will. The death of the will means that one is willing to give up every earthly interest to the Lord. Unless he do this, he cannot go any further. Up to this time he may have been very much under the control of his own will. But when he had his own will controlling him it was not satisfactory; and now he wishes to get into harmony with God and do His will.
He knows enough about God's will to know that it is better than his; and now he is sure that he wants to do God's will. At this point he will find that it will cost him something to have God's will done in his life. He is therefore directed by the Word of God to sit down and count the cost. How much will it cost? Possibly the friendship of the world. His friendly connection with the world will be broken; for they will want an easier course in life than he will have. They will say that he is too good, that he wants things too good and that he cannot get along that way. Presently they will cut loose from him because he is too good for them. His company will no longer be agreeable; for they are working along different lines. He may previously have been keeping company with some people who used immoral language. He will have to be free from them; for he wants to be in fellowship with the Lord. This does not mean, of course, that he will not trade with them; but it means that he will not want them for his companions, neither will they wish his companionship.
The washing process will thus be going on; and as it proceeds in his mind and heart, as well as in his conduct, he will by and by come to say, "At any cost I would like to be the Lord's. I understand that He has some great favor and privileges or blessings for those who become entirely His. I know enough to know that I would like to be on the Lord's side and stand for the things that are lovely, good and true."
The thing for him then to do will be for him to tie himself up to the gate post. It is necessary for him to restrain himself, to give up his own liberty. He may say that this is a pretty hard undertaking. Yes, but it is necessary to give up the liberty of his will and to say, "Hereafter, nothing but the Lord's will for me. I agree that God's will shall be first with me henceforth." Do you say, "I have concluded that I will do it?" Then tie yourself up, making a covenant with God. Give yourself wholly to God, and like the Lord, say, "Hereafter, not my will, but Thine be done." When you do this, you have tied yourself up at the door of the Tabernacle.
Then the High Priest comes out and kills you according to the flesh. In the type the high priest takes the goat and [Page Q414] cuts its throat, and it is dead from that moment. That act of the great High Priest represents that God accepts your consecration. In that same minute you are begotten and become a New Creature in Christ. You are now counted as a member of the Body of the Priest. As a New Creature you have become a member of the Body of Christ. But according to the flesh, you are that dead goat. In the type the high priest took the fat of the goat and put it on the Altar in the Court to be burned. The blood of the goat represented the life given up, that which is precious in God's sight. You may say you did not have much to give; but when you gave all that you had in your right to Restitution blessing, you gave all that you could give. The blood of the goat the high priest took into the Most Holy and sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, just as he did the blood of the bullock. The fat was put upon the Altar in the court to be burned; and everything else was taken outside of the Camp to be consumed by burning outside the Camp.
What a stench it would make! That shows how your life will look to the world. It will be considered as the filth and off-scouring of the earth, the same as was that of the Apostles. Jesus went outside of the Camp first. He sanctified the place of burning. The Apostles also went out; and throughout the Gospel Age all the saintly ones of God's people have been "burned without the Camp." That is the best thing for us. The High Priest's directions are that we should go outside the Camp with Him. It may be that some of your relatives will do the burning; for you are there to be burned, according to the flesh.
How about you spiritually, as a New Creature? That new life is not to be burned. It is the flesh of the goat that should go outside the Camp to be burned. You are a New Creature, and a member of the Body of Christ. Spiritually you have all sorts of privileges and blessings—the Peace of God passing all understanding ruling in your heart—while the burning goes on in your flesh at the same time. While the Apostle was being "burned outside the camp"—in the Philippian jail—inside by faith in Jesus, he was having a fine time; so much so that he sang praises to God. You may have some very trying experiences and at the same time be able to sing praises unto God. (Provided you do not disturb your neighbors!) The Scriptures assure us that if we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him. We can therefore rejoice in our sufferings-not in sufferings for foolishness sake; but in the sufferings that are on account of our faithfulness and loyalty to the Lord and to the Truth. All such sufferings give us joy. We rejoice that we are in the Holy, where we can have some of the joys of the Lord. In the Holy we have the Bread of His Presence, and enjoy the light of the Golden Candlestick, as well as having the experiences of the Golden Altar.
Now, the Court represents all the believer's experiences in justification, from the time he enters the gate, coming into the Court passing the brazen Altar, till he comes to the door of the Tabernacle. It is tentative justification, from the time the individual begins to take the first step. He begins to draw near to God just as he passes through the gate to the Brazen Altar. He draws still nearer while he is washing at the Laver, and still nearer when he ties himself up at the [Page Q415]Door of the Tabernacle. When he has done this, he has done everything he can do. The next thing must be done by the Lord, represented by the high priest of Israel. The antitypical High Priest there accepts you as a member of His Body, presents you acceptable before the Father; and the Father, in accepting you, gives you the Holy Spirit; and you become a New Creature. This justification, sanctification and spiritbegetting are all done at once. The process of tentative justification may in some be very slow. Often they progress very slowly because of the doctrines of Babylon and false teachings. They will wander in and out, playing hide and seek, not realizing what are the proper steps to be taken. What a condition! We were all in it ourselves. We knew not what to do; neither could we tell any one else what to do; but it is now getting very plain. All the various steps in connection with tentative justification are getting quite clear; for God's time has come for making things plain. We are, therefore, seeing things. We can now run down to the Laver, wash away the filth of the flesh, and tie up at the door in a very short time; for we know how to do it. How blessed it is to live in this time!
ANSWER.—We would here need to qualify the expression, "justified by faith," because in Bible usage this term has two different significations. We read, for instance, that Abraham was justified by faith, but surely not in the sense that the Church is justified by faith! Abraham was justified to fellowship with God, to receive the Promise, to know about certain things that God purposes in the future, and to demonstrate his loyalty to God under a Divine standard. But he was not justified to eternal life. He was not justified in the sense that he could be invited to present his body a living sacrifice and become a redeemer for Adam, or in any sense a meritorious sacrifice for another. No one could be thus justified by faith until after the death of Jesus, until His imputation of His merit after He ascended up on High and appeared "in the presence of God for us"—the Church.
ANSWER.—It depends upon the meaning attached to the word consecration'. The Bible recognizes consecration from two different viewpoints; first, the consecration of the individual; and second, the making of this consecration valid by the Lord Jesus Christ, and its acceptance by the Father. The consecration of the individual to do the Lord's will, the full surrender of his own will, as typified by the tying of the goat to the door of the Tabernacle, precedes justification. But the second step is this: namely, that it is necessary for our Lord Jesus Christ to become the Advocate for those who desire to become members of the Royal Priesthood, before they can be acceptable to the Father. Hence, their justification by the Lord Jesus Christ, who imputes of His merit to them, follows their consecration of themselves and is immediately followed by the Heavenly Father's act of consecrating these, in the sense of accepting them as consecrated [Page Q416] persons and giving them all the rights and privileges included in this covenant arrangement.
ANSWER.—I answer Yes and no—in this way: It is according to your faith. What God says now is merely on the basis of faith. Those who cannot exercise faith cannot have present blessings. Everything that God gives during this age is according to faith, and to those who exercise the faith. You see there are some people so constituted that they cannot exercise faith, and they cannot get the blessings of this present time unless they can exercise faith. Must they go to hell because they cannot exercise faith? We are not talking about going to hell; we are not talking about eternal torment. We are glad, thank God, that is not the divine provision for those who cannot exercise faith at the present time, but that in due time, in the Millennial Age, they will be treated according to sight. If they cannot exercise faith now, they will have an opportunity of having sight bye and bye in the Millennial Age, and they will then see the things that you and I now see with the eye of faith. The eye of faith is directed by God's Word and to those that have the eye of faith, and the ears of faith, there is a special blessing now, because this class which God is now calling out of the world are those that do hear and see with this power of faith. Others are left waiting for the time when God will deal with them. You remember how the Apostle and the prophet declare that the time is coming when all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped. Thank God! It will not be merely to those that have faith, but now the present offer is only to those who have faith, because God is now gathering out the elect class, the little flock, who will be with Christ, and no one will be suitable for this position unless they can exercise faith. Therefore God is leaving the matter in such form that only that class can receive it now. "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and blessed are your ears, for they hear." For others who cannot see and who cannot hear for the lack of faith, or for lack of something else, God has a blessing of another kind. Now suppose you did exercise faith, what would be the result to you? If you can exercise faith in Christ, and know that Christ has died, and fully believe it and accept it, then it is your privilege to realize that you are one of those who were covered by the merit of that sacrifice; and if you are governed by his sacrifice, it is your pleasure then to feel, Now from God's sight, all my blemishes and my imperfections according to nature are covered by the merit of Christ's sacrifice, and now God will not hold them against me. But mind you, that is yours only so long as you exercise faith. If you lose the faith before night you have lost all of the justification that went with it, because it is only a reckoned justification, it is not an actual justification; you are not made actually free from those imperfections and sins; they are merely covered; the Lord covers them on account of your faith, and if your faith goes you are back exactly where you were before. So, according to your faith be it unto you, in this present time. Thus the Lord teaches those whom he is now schooling,[Page Q417] namely, those who are in the school of Christ, the household of faith, he is teaching the importance in his sight of full confidence and trust in Him. When he tells us that our sins are covered and we are willing to receive it so, why then his blessing is with us. That does not mean that all your sins in the future and in the past are covered. What is covered then? I answer all the sins which come to you through Adam and through heredity, through your parents; but whatever you did personally and wilfully, knowing it was wrong, and not of heredity or weakness, is still yours to settle for. Now, of course, heredity and weakness will cover, I trust, nearly all your blemishes and shortcomings; but to whatever extent you have done wilfully aside from these weaknesses you have inherited, and aside from ignorance, you are responsible for, and you will have to have some kind of stripes for them still. That is the way I understand it. And if today, or at any time, you commit sin, with knowing intelligent wilfulness, the Lord may see better than you that some portion of it was attributable to ignorance, or to your heredity, and he will give you credit for all of that. You will not have to settle that. Therefore the Apostle says, I judge not mine own self. He says, it is a small thing with me that I should be judged by any of you. What do you know about me? You cannot read my heart. It would be a small thing for me that I should be judged by any of you. Yea, I judge not mine own self, the Lord is the one who is going to decide. And the Lord knows exactly how much wilfulness or ignorance there is in connection with anything you have done, and according to that reasonable arrangement he is going to cover through faith in Christ everything that was of ignorance, and every element that was of heredity. You will have a clean sheet, so far as that is concerned, and you will stand responsible and be held accountable only to the extent that you did wilfully and intentionally. What a comfort that is to us, and what a restraint. It is a great mistake some seem to make, some perhaps who are Catholics, and some perhaps who are Protestants, that there is forgiveness for everything. Catholics say, we will go to the priest and confess it and it will all be over, no matter what it was. I heard of one man who had stolen two hams, and he confessed to the priest and said, I brought you one of them as a present. The priest found after he had given him absolution that he had stolen them from himself so; he was just in one ham. I am not giving that as a true story, or a reflection against our Catholic friends, but merely as illustrative of the point that we cannot do any shilly-shallying with our heavenly Father, for he knows all about our matters, and he has made provision for one class of sins, all that was from Adam, all the ignorance and heredity, are provided for freely, fully, graciously, and we have nothing to pay at all; but we must feel that we have a personal responsibility for every action and for every thought, and for every word. If you get that thought into your minds, it will make you very careful. You will realize that however much Christ may have done for us through forgiveness of sins that are past, nevertheless there is a responsibility on our part for everything that we do, think, or say.
Q417:1 QUESTION (l9l6)—1—In September 15th Tower, page 281, [Page Q418] Article on Justification, discussing "Legal and Actual" Justification, is this statement: "It is legal and it is actual at the same instant." Is the thought here meant to be that our justification is actual and not reckoned?
ANSWER.—Brother Russell has not changed his views on Justification. Justification is justification, has always been justification and will always be justification, and Brother Russell could not change justification for himself or for anybody else. Justification means to make right, to make just. As, for instance, if we had a pair of scales in our hands, and placed something on one side, then by placing something of equal weight on the other side, we would balance the scales. That is the basis of the thought of justification—the balance. Apply this thought to the world of mankind. You and I and the whole human race get out of balance. The true balance of Adam was a perfect mind, and God required nothing more than he could do. He was therefore a balanced man, and being separate from sinners, needed no justification to be made right. Jesus was the same. He was "holy, harmless and separate from sinners," was not wrong in any sense, and therefore needed no balancing, required no justification, or making right. He was right. Only that which is wrong, or unbalanced, needs justifying. The whole world has been tried in Adam, placed in the scales, and found wanting and consequently sentenced to death by the Righteous Judge. He has adjudged all in Adam to be unworthy of life, and He will never alter or change His mind. How, then, you inquire, will He bless the world? God tells us that all this condemnation came through the disobedience of one man, and then passed down to all the children of Adam, so that all are subject to this unbalanced, undone condition started in Adam. We were born with an unbalanced mind and body. We are not to be held responsible for that in the sense that we caused the wrong, but still, we are wrong, although not responsible for the wrong. Adam is the one responsible for it. As by a man' came sin, by man came death. We did not bring in this death-condition; we were born in it. We were born in this unsatisfactory state which is unworthy of life. God has provided that we shall be justified, or made right. In the case of Adam, it would mean that he must he made right with God, or else he can never have everlasting life, and Christ will do something for him in the way of justification that will make him acceptable to God. What will Christ do for Adam and the whole race of mankind? What He will do for Adam and the race will be different from what He will do for the church. In the Millennium He will make Adam and the race perfect. All the obedient will become perfectly balanced, well-poised, in full harmony with God in all their talents and powers by the time Jesus gets through with them at the end of the Millennial Age. They must, however, be willing and cooperate with Him. God[Page Q419] does not intend to force any man's mind contrary to its natural bend, but, if willing, He will help them up to the perfection that was lost in Eden, and give them the privilege of complete recovery. This is the way the world will be justified, or made right. This has been stated in the Sixth Volume; the same justification has been taught in the Tabernacle Shadows, and twenty times in the Watch Tower. It is the same in every one of them. No new meaning has been given. This justification, however, applies to the church differently because the church is separate from the world in God's great plan; consequently the justification comes to them in a different way. Why? If the Lord were to justify you and me in the same way that He will justify the world, He would make us perfect human beings. However, He did not make us perfect, for our flesh is the same as when we gave our hearts to the Lord. Being imperfect in the flesh proves that we are not justified in the flesh. How, then, does He justify us? From the type we see that the merit of Jesus is imputed, or reckoned, or counted to the church for the purpose of covering their blemishes, as though God would hide these blemishes from His sight, so that with this covering or imputation of the merit of Christ to us, God can accept us as sacrifices. He could not accept us as sacrifices so long as we were sinners. We must be granted the right to life before we can present our bodies as living sacrifices. We can't give anything before we have it. We must therefore be justified by FAITH. Mark the difference between the making one actually perfect during the Millennial Age, and the justification by faith during this age. We have this justification by faith. It begins with us. "Too late! too late! will be the cry when we have been glorified. When did we get started? When we turned our backs upon sin and began to feel after God. To convert is to turn around. If I were going in one direction, the natural course of sin and the world, and I hear something about God and the truth, and come to have some knowledge on these subjects and that God is willing to receive sinners back to Him, what shall I do? Turn around and get on the side of righteousness. I am then converted, or turned around. This turning around does not mean that you become a saint. O, no! You were not a saint because you turned around. You turned around because you wanted to find God: "If haply you might find Him." We found Him when we turned around from the wrong course and wanted to go in the right way. We found Him when we began to walk in the right way. We then took steps toward putting away sin, putting away filthy habits, for we must put these away. So we began to divest ourselves of the filth of the flesh. We kept on trying, and said, we want to draw nearer to God. Finally, we said we want to get fully to God and we hear that we must get into touch with Jesus and He will justify us and make us acceptable to the Father. How shall I get acquainted with Jesus? You begin to have reverence. You learn from the Bible, Scripture Studies, tracts, friends, etc., and get the understanding that you must make a full surrender of yourself to Jesus in order to be His disciple, and you learn that if you do thus come to the Lord and He accepts you that He will then justify you and immediately present you to the Father, who will indicate His acceptance of you by giving you the Holy Spirit and thus [Page Q420] begetting you to a spirit life. Just as soon as the great Advocate with the Father accepted you in the name of the Father, your spirit begetting was the next thing in order. Instantaneous with your full consecration and acceptance came the begetting of the spirit. Up to that time you were in the process of being justified. You had turned in the right direction to become justified, and you were getting a little nearer to the justified condition where God would be pleased with you, but He would not give you any hearing at all until you had first turned around. As you went on in this way you were always progressing toward justification; each step was leading you to the point of justification. Was this shown in the Tabernacle, and if so, how? An Israelite on the outside who wished to approach God would first see the white curtain surrounding the court, representing our standing before God, and would learn that he must go to the gate, and by invitation, pass through to the brazen altar and the sacrifice made thereon. This would say that he was turning from sin and desired to approach God. This altar and sacrifice represented God's provision for the sinner. He made a sacrifice in the interest of sinners that he might be able to receive you justly and treat with you. We went to God along that way. Then he would pass on to the copper laver. That contains water, and the water represents truth, and also cleansing, and so, as the picture shows, everyone who goes to the laver puts away some of the filth of the flesh, and consequently gets into a purer and better condition. Should we not go to God first and get rid of the filth of the flesh afterwards. Never! You are now going to God and it is very proper for you to show your desire to do everything in your power to put away filth from yourself and this is represented by the laver, and then, you go on still further and draw near to the first vail, and inquire, what shall I do now? I would like to go on now and become a priest. I know that God is now calling for priests. But you can't be a priest unless you are a sacrificer. You will have to sacrifice if you have any hope of being a priest. You must have the priest to make the sacrifice. Jesus is this priest. Previous to being sacrificed you must first be tied up at the door of the tabernacle just as the goat was tied up. You tie yourself up by giving up your will to the Lord—all that you have and all that you are. The tying of that goat at the door of the tabernacle represents your consecration and my consecration. The consecrated goat is smitten by the high priest. It is the high priest who kills us. He does this. Just the moment that he accepts you and the killing or sacrifice takes place, that is the very moment that He justifies you. God won't accept you before His merit is imputed to you. Then you are begotten of the holy spirit and become a new creature, and it is this new creature, begotten of the holy spirit, that is a member of the Christ, and goes beyond the second vail. The goat never goes beyond the vail. Neither goat went in; neither did the bullock. The bullock and the goat represent the flesh, and the flesh never goes in. It is the new creature that goes in. The moment the Lord accepts you, you are justified, and that moment you receive the Holy Spirit and are received into the body of the high priest, and because you are in that body, you are in the holy. The next thing will be faithfulness until death where you will pass under the second vail. [Page Q421] Now you see where this justification comes in. This might be stated in a variety of ways, but it is the one start, the one sacrifice necessary, the one consecration necessary, and the one justification by the precious blood.
ANSWER—We are aware that quite a number seem to hold the thought of an actual city, with all of its walls, buildings, towers and turrets, coming down from above and locating in the land of Palestine. Those who have this thought should try to bear in mind that much of the Bible is written in highly symbolic or figurative language. The dimensions of this city are given in furlongs in this same chapter. If we reduce these to miles, we have for the dimensions fifteen hundred miles in length and breadth and height. A city of this magnitude could scarcely be placed in the small land of Palestine, which measures less than two hundred miles in its greatest length. By noting the expressions of the 9th verse, it will become apparent to all that not a literal city is referred to, but a symbolic one is meant. The angel showed St. John "The Bride, the Lamb's wife," in symbol, as a beautiful city. Surely no one would so far ignore the faculties of intelligence and reason as to say that the Bride of Christ is to be a literal city. This Bride is the same one represented as saying, in almost the closing words of the Bible, "Come and partake of the waters of life freely." The Bride is the Church class composed of the faithful followers of Christ, of whom the Apostle Paul speaks, saying: "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2).
ANSWER—A close reading of these chapters will convince any student that a literal city was certainly not meant. In symbolic prophecy a "city" signifies a religious government backed by power and authority. Thus the "holy city, the New Jerusalem," is the symbol used to represent the established Kingdom of God, the overcomers of the Gospel Church exalted and reigning in glory. The Church is also, and in the same connection, represented as a woman, "the bride, the Lamb's wife," in power and glory, and backed by the power and authority of Christ, her husband. "And there came unto me one of the seven angels... saying Come hither, I will shew thee the bride the Lamb's wife. And he . .. shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem." (Rev. 21:9,10.) It is evident that we should "spiritualize" this narrative because St. John himself did so, for he says "And he carried me away in spirit." (Rev. 21:10.) That is to say in a spiritual sense he viewed [Page Q790] the wonders of this great city, and not actually, in a literal sense. The dimensions of the city are given in furlongs, which, if reduced to miles would mean that it measured 1,500 miles in length, and breadth, and height! Surely no such literal city will ever be established on this little globe of ours. Recognizing the meaning of the symbols we have a beautiful picture representing the gradual establishment of the Divine Kingdom of the Heavens on the earth, when the Church, the Lamb's wife, is ruling in royal majesty with Christ, "the Prince of Peace."
ANSWER—The most remarkable movement ever occurring amongst the Jewish people since the time of the destruction of their capital city, Jerusalem, is now in process of development, and is known as "The Zionist Movement." The primary object of this movement is the establishment of the Jews in their own land under a government of their own. This would mean the rebuilding of the city in the event of the success of this movement. There are many prophecies which show that the Jews shall return to Divine favor and shall again be established in their own country, and that the City of Jerusalem will be rebuilt. We cite but one—Jer. 31:27-40. The clear intimation of the teachings of the Scriptures is that Jerusalem will become the Capital City of the world, "for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem," "And many people shall go and say, Come ye and let us go up to the mountain (Kingdom) of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob: and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths." (Isa. 2:3.) For a remarkable confirmation of this, in the words of the New Testament, see Acts 15:16,17.
ANSWER—There is nothing to prove that Christ was born December 25th, but the evidence is clear and strong that the time of His birth was about October 1st. It is generally recognized that Jesus was crucified on Friday, April 3d, A.D. 33. The fact that His crucifixion occurred at the close of the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, and that this date rarely falls on Friday, but did so in the year A.D. 33 substantiates that date so thoroughly even Usher, who adopted B.C. 4 as the date of Jesus' birth, was forced to admit that His crucifixion was A.D. 33. Our Lord was thirty years of age when He began His ministry, and it is clear that His ministry was for three and a half years only. This generally conceded fact is proved by Daniel's prophecy (Dan. 9:25-27) concerning Christ's cutting off in the middle of the seventieth week of Israel's favor. The "seventy weeks" (A day for a year—490 days, or 490 years—Eze. 4:6) dating from 454 B.C. terminated A.D. 36. In the "midst" of that last week of seven years, the "seventieth [Page Q791] week," Christ was "cut off"—crucified—April 3d, A.D. 33. As the Lord Jesus was thirty-three and a half years old when He died, we have only to measure back that length of time to the date of His death to ascertain the date of His birth, which would be about Oct. 3d, B.C. 2. It is certain that the midwinter date, December 25th, does not well agree with the statement of the Scriptures, that at the time of our Lord's birth the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks.
Q791:1 QUESTION—I find in Matthew and Luke what purport to be the genealogies of Christ. Matthew gives His ancestry back to Abraham; Luke goes back to Adam. Between Christ ad David, Matthew gives 27 generations, and Luke gives 42; and none of the names in these two lists are the same. Will you please explain this seeming discrepancy?
ANSWER—Our Lord Jesus became related to the human family by taking our nature through His mother Mary. Mary's genealogy, as traced by Luke, leads back to David through his son Nathan. (Luke 3:23.) (Joseph is here styled "the son of Heli," that is, the son of Eli, Mary's father, by marriage, or legally; or as we would say, son-in- law of Eli. By birth, Joseph was the son of Jacob, as stated in Matt. 1:16), while Joseph's genealogy, as given by Matthew, traces also back to David through his son Solomon. (Matt. 1:6-16.) Joseph having accepted Mary as his wife, and adopted Jesus, her son, as though He were his own son, this adoption would entitle Jesus to reckon Joseph's genealogy; but such a tracing back to the family of David was not necessary, because His mother came also of David, by another line. Thus the seeming discrepancy is due to the fact that Luke gives Mary's genealogy while Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph. The difference in the number of generations from David to Christ need not be considered as remarkable. It would be remarkable had they been the same.
Q791:2 QUESTION—Would you kindly explain the 37th and 38th verses of Matthew 22 (should beMat. 23:37,38) where the Lord said "O Jerusalem Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and killest them which are sent unto thee how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a bird gathers her brood under her wing, but ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate?" (H.B.P)
ANSWER—The Savior standing upon the Mt. of Olives and gazing out upon the Holy City, Jerusalem, gave expression to these words with a heart filled with conflicting emotions. For three and one-half years He had been laying down His life for the Jewish people in preaching to them the wonderful tidings of the Kingdom of God. He had healed the sick, comforted the sorrowing and the afflicted, and even raised the dead in some instances. Now, on this sad day, after having ridden into the city in triumph, and being rejected by the nation, through their representatives, the Scribes and Pharisees; in sorrow and with tears, He declared that they as a nation were cast off from Divine [Page Q792]favor and no longer recognized as the chosen people of God. How true to the declaration of the Lord are the facts of history as outlined in the secular annals of the race! From that moment they declined in favor, and disaster after disaster came upon them until the nation was conquered by the Roman arms, and they as a people were scattered abroad throughout the whole earth to he persecuted, oppressed, and slaughtered by the Gentiles. The Jew is the miracle of history; "the man without a country." The Lord Jesus, in prophetic vision, foresaw all the long centuries of afflictions that would come upon them, and in His sympathy and love, grieved for them, and gave expression to His love by saying "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a bird gathers her brood under her wings, but ye would not!" Corrected Translation.
ANSWER—The Bible answer is YES to both questions: (a) "I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and will bring you again into the land of Israel." "Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God." "And they shall say, this land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden" (Eze. 37:12; Eze. 36:27-35). (b) What is known as the land of Palestine is but a very small part of the promised land, which is to stretch from the Nile to the Euphrates (Gen. 15:18), and appears to include Arabia as well as parts of Egypt and the Soudan, an area equal to the half of Europe. Much of this is now desert land, but "the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." (Isa. 35:1.) Thus there will be ample space and abundant provision made for the Israelites in the promised land—promised for an everlasting possession to Abraham and his descendants—when God's favor will have returned to them as foretold by the Prophets—Rom. 11:25-27.
ANSWER—Abraham was the father of the Jewish people. God made promise to him, saying, "In thy Seed all the families of the earth shall he blessed." Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, had twelve sons, who became the head of the twelve tribes of Israel, or Jews. God made a covenant with His people, saying to them: "If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation" (Exo. 19:5,6). For more than eighteen centuries God's dealings were with this people exclusively, as he said through His prophet, "Ye only have I known of all the families of the earth" (Amos 3:2). Time after time [Page Q793] God reiterated His promise that the Messiah should come to them, and when Jesus came the masses of the Jews were not heeding God's promises: being led by the Clergy class, themselves negligent of the promises, therefore blind, as Jesus said, "Blind leaders of the blind," they rejected Jesus Christ and were cast off from God's favor (Matt. 23:37-39). The words of our Lord clearly imply that God's favor will again return to this people; He said, "Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." The Apostles point out that God there began to turn his favor to the Gentiles, and when the requisite number have been selected from among these to constitute the Kingdom class, as promised, then God's favor will again be shown to the Jews as a people (See Rom. 11:1-5 and 25-28).
ANSWER—We believe Job to have been a real person—a man. He is so referred to in the following Scriptures: Job 1:1; Eze. 14:14-20; James 5:11. This does not alter the fact, however, that a great allegorical lesson is taught by Job's experiences. As a whole, his life represented the experiences of the human family in the loss of everything. Job lost his children, friends, home, health, the affections of his wife—all—and he was nigh unto destruction in the tomb. Then came the turning point. He was restored to Divine favor and to all the blessings which he had formerly enjoyed, and had more abundance than he ever had before. This pictures the experiences of the human race. Adam, in Eden, was perfect, joyful and rich in life and a perfect home. He lost all of these, being driven from Eden and compelled to battle with the sterile soil of the earth. By and by, when the "Restitution of all things, spoken by Jehovah through His holy prophets," shall have come to the world, the human race will likewise be restored to Divine favor and receive greater blessings than ever before experienced.
ANSWER—In the 6th verse the Apostle says :—"Who will render to every man according to his deeds"—at the time when God's judgments will be manifested as stated in the 5th verse. Coming to the seventh verse, he points out that those who patiently continue in well doing, seeking for glory, honor, and immortality shall receive eternal life, at the time indicated in the preceding two verses. And, at that time, those who will persist in wrongdoing, shall be punished by experiencing Divine indignation and wrath. But those who, when the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, will comply with the principles of righteousness shall experience Divine favor and blessings, both Jews and Gentiles. This presentation of the matter is in harmony with the general teachings of the Scriptures which show that the Church of Christ, now being selected out [Page Q794] from the nations of the earth, shall receive "glory, honor, and immortality"; while the world of mankind—the righteous and obedient—whose trial for eternal life will follow the glorification of the Church, shall receive the "glory, honor, and peace" of perfect human conditions.
ANSWER—It is that last dreadful day in the which (according to the antiquated theories of an obsolete theological formation) the Lord will return to the earth, and take His seat upon a great white throne, and then all nations will be gathered before Him, for judgment. As the judgments proceed, the mountains and the rocks will come tumbling down, and the sea and all the waves will roar under the agitations of a mighty storm. About this time a terrible earthquake will shake things up so severely that all the things that can be shaken will be removed. In connection with these terrifying phenomena of nature, there will be the sounding of the last trump, and tremendous voices will be heard in the air. Amidst this deafening uproar, while "the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds" is transpiring, the 20,000,000,000 and more of the human race will be judged, and all within the limitations of a twenty-four hour day. When the final summing up takes place, the Great Judge will invite the few saints, "the little flock," to enter into the conditions of bliss, while to the vast majority of the race He will issue the command to depart into an eternity of torment in fire and brimstone. With the pronouncement of the final sentence of doom, a terrible fire will break forth; the elements shall melt with fervent heat; and the heavens and earth being on fire shall be dissolved! This lurid picture of the judgment time was evidently formed by some one with highly developed imaginative powers, who gathered together a number of symbolic and figurative expressions from the Scriptures with which to produce this amusing sketch of "doomsday," which has served to frighten some good and bad children nearly to death!
ANSWER—The term "Judgment" includes a hearing or trial and the final conclusion or result of that trial. Not all are judged at once. To illustrate, the Church is now on trial or judgment, which trial or judgment has been in progress since Pentecost. The faithful in this judgment shall be rewarded, as we read, "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." (Rev. 2:10.) The Judgment Day as applied to the world in general is entirely a different matter. It is manifest that the whole world could not be tried and judged within 24 hours. The Apostle says, "God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:31). Again we read: "That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years" (2 Peter 3:8). The judgment of the world by Christ will cover a period of one thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6). [Page Q795] That the judgment of the world had not come in the Apostle Paul's day is clearly shown by his words in the Scripture above noted (Acts 17:31). This and other Scriptures clearly show that Christ is to be the Judge of the world when he sets up his kingdom at his second coming. In Matthew 25:31-46 our Lord gave a description of the judgment of the world, clearly pointing out that it would take place at His second appearing. This is conclusive proof that the world's judgment is not yet in progress.
ANSWER—These verses, doubtless, refer to Israel's judgments and their final repentance and reconciliation. The three days we understand to be the days of the larger week, one thousand years to each day. In this larger week the seventh day will be the seventh thousand-year period—the Sabbath of rest from sin and Satan. Recognizing time from this standpoint and applying to each thousand years the parallel day of the week—we find that, as over four thousand years had passed and the fifth thousand had begun at the time the Jews had experienced the judgments of the Lord in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, it was therefore at a time corresponding to the fifth day of the lesser week, namely Thursday, the first day of the three mentioned. Friday the second day, and Saturday (the seventh-day Sabbath) the third, in which the Israelites will be revived and raised up to Divine favor and life. It is to be early in the morning of this third day—the thousand years of Messiah's reign—that "All Israel shall be saved"—Rom. 11:26. Then will be the seasons of refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord as indicated in the "rain" mentioned in the third verse and referred to by the Apostle Peter—Acts 3:19-21.