Q421:1 QUESTION (1906)—1—Please explain 1 Mat. 8:12? How shall the children of the kingdom be cast out into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, while many from the East, and West and South, sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom?
ANSWER.—I answer that the Lord was here discussing the matter of the earthly kingdom with the earthly children of the kingdom, and He was telling them that because they were rejecting Him, the time would come when they would be rejected. He was explaining to them spiritual things, and did not try to explain the difference between the heavenly and the earthly parts of the new kingdom; it was not proper that He should do so; they were not yet begotten of the holy spirit and could not have appreciated spiritual things, if he had taught them spiritual things. Therefore our Lord, in all His teachings of the people during His three and one-half years of ministry, did not attempt to teach them spiritual things; he merely taught them natural things. Anything beyond the natural was stated in parables and dark sayings, and He told the disciples, who were able to receive those messages that the time would come by and by, as a result of this going to the Father, that the Holy Spirit would come, and bring these things to their knowledge—not to the knowledge of the others. Therefore those who are addressed, and who were rejecting Him, were not intended to understand in its fulness and clearness the earthly and heavenly phase of the kingdom. From their standpoint the best way He could talk to them was on their level: that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be in the kingdom, not saying whether the earthly or heavenly phase. We know from other scriptures that they will be in the earthly phase of the kingdom, but the Lord did not undertake to explain matters or dilate on that feature of the subject, but merely that they would be in the kingdom, and that these others when they come forth will find that, instead of being companions to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom as they hoped to be, being the chosen nation of God, will find themselves in the outcast condition. When do they get the weeping and gnashing of teeth? We answer they went into weeping and gnashing of teeth at the end of their Age. Those who rejected the Lord found a great time of trouble coming on their nation. That fits that part of the statement very well. By and by when they come forth, in awaking, they will find what a great mistake they made, and the prophet speaking of them and respecting them says that they shall look upon Him whom they pierced, and shall mourn because of Him.
ANSWER.—Apparently in one case He was speaking of the earthly when He said, "Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," etc. I do not remember any other parable referring to the earthly phase except the parable of the sheep and [Page Q422] goats, when all mankind as sheep and goats will be gathered before the Millennial throne, the earthly phase of the kingdom, but in general the kingdom referred to by our Lord is the spiritual kingdom, from which proceeds the power and authority.
ANSWER.—Our understanding is that Messiah's Kingdom will be a spiritual one, invisible to mortals, yet allpowerful, for the accomplishment of the great things promised in the Law and in the Prophets. The Empire which he will establish, invisible to men, will take the place of the Empire of Satan, likewise invisible. The King of Glory will replace the Prince of Darkness. Principal amongst Messiah's earthly agents and representatives will be Abraham, Isaac and all the Prophets, resurrected in full human perfection. Instead of their being, as heretofore, the fathers, they shall be the children of Messiah, whom he will make princes in all the earth. (Psalm 45:16.) With this Kingdom the nation of Israel will speedily unite, and eventually every nation will come into harmony with Messiah, and all people will be privileged to come in under Israel's New Covenant, then established by the great "Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in."—Jer. 31:31-34; Mal 3:1-3.
The glorious Messiah, whom the Jews identify with "Michael, the great Prince, which standeth for the children of the people" (Dan. 12:1), the Mohammedans also expect and identify with Mahomet of the past. The Free Masons also expect the same glorious personage and, in their traditions, identify him with Hiram Abiff, the great Master-Mason. This same great Messiah, Michael, the archangel, the anti-typical Melchisedec, Priest as well as King, we identify as "The Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:5,6.) But when the great King shall appear in his glory and establish his Kingdom with Israel he will be, as promised by the Prophets, "the desire of all nations." (Hag. 2:7.) Then all the blinded eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears will be unstopped. Then who he is and how he should be identified with Abraham's Seed and David's line, will be clearly known to all, in heaven and in earth. Not now, but when the King shall reign in righteousness, all shall fully understand the significance of Zechariah's prophecy (Zec. 12:7-10) and Psalm 22:16. Content that Messiah shall show the Truth in his day of revealment, we are glad to point Jews, Mohammedans, Christians, all, to the glorious Messiah and the great work of blessing for all the nations which he will accomplish through the Seed of Abraham, according to God's Covenant and his Oath.
Q422:2 QUESTION (1911)—2—Please tell us to what party and people Christ was referring in the nineteenth verse of the fifth chapter of Matthew, when he said, "Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least of these commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom [Page Q423] of Heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven?"
ANSWER.—The kingdom of Heaven is spoken of in two different senses of the word. In one sense the kingdom of Heaven is not at hand. We are waiting for that kingdom of Heaven when the Elect shall all have been completed, and shall all have experienced the change to glory. But in another sense you and I are the kingdom of Heaven now. We are the ones who represent the kingdom in the world, and we are spoken of by the Apostle Peter as a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, now; even though it is not certain you will be one of these, and it is not certain that I will be; still we are spoken of in this way. In this sense, all the church is spoken of as the kingdom of Heaven. So, Jesus said, you remember. The kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence; the violent taketh it by force. Now, the heavenly Kingdom of the future was not suffering violence then? No, but Jesus represented that kingdom and he was suffering violence, and his disciples represented this kingdom, and they were suffering, for the violent ones were taking them by force, and they caused the Lord's death, and the scattering of the church, etc. So then, in this scripture also; whosoever in the church class will make little of any command of God, he will make himself less, or should be considered that much less amongst the Lord's people; if anyone would do or teach anything contrary to the Lord's commandments, no matter which they are, anything we believe to be of divine institution—whoever would go contrary to God's arrangement or will in any respect, we should consider him thereby less on that account. He that breaks the commandments and teachers others to do so, and sets a had example, count him least in the kingdom and those who teach the will of God, and strive to do the will of God, consider those amongst the greatest; and so that is the advice of the Apostle to the church. Look out amongst you those who are walking the most in the footsteps of Jesus if you want to elect elder brothers and deacons in the church. Look out amongst you those who are copying the most closely the divine arrangements, and choose of this kind. And those who have these qualifiations for service, let them be the servants of the church. They will be the least and the greatest in proportion as they are doing the divine will. That is the proper standard for you and me to recognize.
Q423:1 QUESTION (1911)—1—When we read in first Corinthians, the fifteenth chapter, that Christ shall deliver all things over to the Father who put all things under him, will this turning over of everything to the Father be before or after the little season mentioned in Revelation, the twentieth chapter, where we read that Satan shall be loosed for a little season that he might tempt the world?
ANSWER.—We answer that it will be before. When the thousand years are finished Christ will deliver the kingdom up to the Father and Satan will he bound for a thousand years. So during all of that thousand years evil will be restrained, Satan shall be bound and Christ will do his work completely of restoring; and then having finished his work, he will turn it over to the Father, and then all mankind, being perfect, will be under the control of the Father. Then [Page Q424]you say, "What is the difference between the control of the Father and the control of the Son? Do they have different laws?" No, there is no difference in the law. The law which Jesus will enforce, during the thousand years, will be exactly the same law that God will enforce after the thousand years, but Jesus stands for, or represents, divine mercy; as the Mediator, he stands between divine justice and the sinner; he stands as Mediator by virtue of having redeemed the sinner. And so in this position he represents the Father's mercy. Now if God were to establish a precedent and he himself were to exercise mercy, he would have to set aside his justice, and God does not propose to do that. If every now and then he would set aside justice, he would be destroying the order of things, would be rather cultivating the spirit of error. For illustration, suppose one angel should say, "Now, heavenly Father, I have sinned; please overlook this matter." Suppose the Father would say, "Very well, I will overlook it." Then another one would say, bye and bye, "Well, heavenly Father, I have sinned; please overlook this matter." Bye and bye it would be fashionable among the angels to say, "I have not had my turn yet at forgiveness." God does not propose to have any such operation as that. He makes all his creatures perfect; as we read, his work is perfect. And having made them perfect, he expects them to maintain that perfection, and therefore he makes no allowances for imperfection. And in the case of man, he allowed this course of sin, and arranged in advance that Jesus would redeem man, so that thus he might illustrate the glorious qualities of his nature in condemning man to death, and allowing this reign of sin and death, his justice in not forgiving, then the justice that would require a ransom for them, and would send forth his Son to be the Redeemer—all of that was a great lesson to the angels, and it is a great lesson to us, and will be a great lesson to mankind, that God is not trifling; that God's word, "Thou shalt not be disobedient," is something that is to be recognized; there is no trifling with our God. You cannot say, "Well, he will forgive me, and it won't matter." Sin would be common amongst a great many people if God in that manner—in carelessness, so to speak—in dealing with them, and in following out his own will, would be careless with the sinner; it would be very common to sin; and it would really be an invitation. But God sets a ban on sin. He says it is injurious to every person, that righteousness will be a blessing, and that he will not allow a single case of sin. And then he illustrates that in man's case and allows it to go on, then provides a Redeemer, and allows the Redeemer to stand as the Mediator for a thousand years, dealing with mankind and helping them up. He does not take any part in this, they are all under the care of the Mediator during that thousand years, until the Mediator shall bring them up to full perfection. But at the end of the thousand years they are perfect and do not need a Mediator any longer. A perfect man does not need a Mediator, any more than a perfect angel needs a Mediator, or any more than Adam needed a Mediator—and not as much, because Adam did not have the experience that these perfect men at the end of the thousand years of Christ's reign will have had with the reign of sin and death and the reign of righteousness, and having seen the goodness of [Page Q425]God, and now then they ought to be thoroughly fixed in their character. No doubt about it. So then the Mediator steps out from between. What does it signify? It means that mankind will be turned over to simple, pure justice—nothing more, nothing less; and God will require them to do right, exactly right in every case; no allowances whatever; no way of making good if they go wrong. If they infract the divine law a little bit, it will mean that they do so with knowledge, and it will mean that they will die the second death. However, we are not to understand that the Son will have nothing to do with the matter. While Revelation says that fire will come down from God out of heaven and destroy Satan and those who go with him in the error of that time, and that indicates that it comes from justice, nevertheless we understand that in all these things the Lord Jesus, and the church, his body, associated with him, will be the Father's agent; but in the one case, as Mediator, he is acting upon his own initiative, upon that which he bought with his own precious blood, this right which he has to rule the world having come to him through his redemption of the world, but that work being finished, he will resume active operations in the universe as the representative of Jehovah, just as he was before he came into the world. He was God's representative in the creation of the world, in the creation of the angels—all things were made by him; and just so after the thousand years, when he shall resume his relationship to the Father, he will be the Father's agent in all things that shall be done. So I presume it will be the Lord Jesus who will have the supervision of this matter, and the destruction of Satan and the others, and that seems to be the picture given us in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, where the parable of the sheep and the goats carries us down and shows us that Satan and those associated with him will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death.
ANSWER.—Our understanding is that Messiah's Kingdom will be a spiritual one, invisible to mortals, yet allpowerful for the accomplishment of the great things promised in the Law and the Prophets. The Empire which He will establish, invisible to men, will take the place of the Empire of Satan, likewise invisible. The King of Glory will replace the Prince of Darkness. Principal amongst Messiah's earthly agents and representatives will be Abraham, Isaac and all the Prophets, raised to full, human perfection. Instead of their being, as heretofore, the fathers, they shall be the children' of Messiah, whom He will make "Princes in all the earth." (Psa. 45:16.) To this Kingdom the nation of Israel will speedily unite. Eventually every nation will come into harmony with Messiah, and all people will be privileged to come in under Israel's New Covenant, then established by the great "Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in."—Jer. 31:31-34; Mal. 3:1-3.
The glorious Messiah, whom the Jews identify with "Michael, the great Prince, which standeth for thy people" (Dan. 12:1), the Mohammedans also expect, and identify Him with Mohammed of the past. The Free Masons also expect the same glorious personage and, in their traditions, [Page Q426] identify Him with Hiram Abiff, the great Master Mason. This same great Messiah, Michael, the Archangel, the anti-typical Melchizedek, Priest as well as King, we identify as "the Man Jesus Christ ,who gave Himself a Ransom-Price for all, to be testified in due time."—1 Tim. 2:6.
But when the Great King shall appear in His Glory and establish His Kingdom with Israel, He will be, as promised by the Prophets, "The desire of all nations." (Hag. 2:7.) Then all the blinded eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped. (Isa. 35:5.) Then, who He is, and how He should be identified with Abraham's Seed and David's line, will be clearly known to all in Heaven and all on earth. Not now, but when the King shall reign in righteousness, all shall fully understand the significance of Zechariah's prophecy (Zec. 12:7-10) and of Psa. 22:16. Content that Messiah shall show the Truth in His Day of revealment, we are glad to point Jews, Mohammedans, Christians, all, to the glorious Messiah, and the great work of blessing for all the nations, which God will accomplish, through the Seed of Abraham, according to His Covenant and His Oath.
Q426:1 QUESTION (1912)—l—When the Lord said in the parable that the seed would being forth some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred fold, are all these classes belonging to the Church or to the Great Company?
ANSWER—He does not say, and I would suppose it would represent all that are fruitful, that would bring forth the fruits of the spirit. One hundred fold might be those who came up to the very highest standard, and those who would bring forth sixty might refer to that same class, but not to shine quite as highly in the Kingdom, as we read that "Star differeth from star in glory." And the thirty fold might mean those who perhaps will be of the Great Company class, who will develop the spirit of the Lord, but not in such an abundant measure. They will all bring forth fruits of the spirit, in any event; just the same as those who are of the two classes, the wise and the foolish virgins. They are all virgins—all pure, all acceptable to God.
Q426:2 QUESTION (1913)—2—To whom do you understand Isa. 65:23 to refer, especially the last clause, "They shall not labor in vain nor bring forth for trouble, for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them"?
ANSWER—Apparently, it would refer to a human class and under the administration of the Kingdom. If we inquire, would they be having offspring there, the answer would be that in all probability the cutting off of the matter of human families will be a gradual one and not an instantaneous one. For some time there may be sexual lines, but this condition of things will be gradually eliminated as they attain nearer to the perfection in which "there will be neither marrying nor giving in marriage." So I believe this text would refer to an early stage in the Millennium.
ANSWER--Well, dear friends, I am sure I will know when I get set up! (Laughter.) When I get set up, it will be when I receive my "change;" it will be when you receive your "change" to the spirit nature that each of you will be set up, passing through the door into the Most Holy, beyond the veil. We believe that the majority of the Kingdom class have already passed beyond the veil. To our understanding of the Bible all the sleeping saints of this Gospel Age were resurrected and passed beyond the veil in the spring of 1878. Of course it is by faith that we understand this. We think there are reasonable evidences for so believing, but we do not believe that the Kingdom was fully set up then. These saints are glorified in that they have now their glorious spirit bodies; but their spirit bodies do not constitute the Kingdom. The kingdom is the reigning power. The Bible intimates that Jesus is to take to Himself His great power and reign before the great destruction of the present Order comes about. This destruction means "Armageddon," and probably all of the Bible class will he with their Lord in glory by the time that Armageddon, the final phase of the great Time of Trouble, is on. Yet we are not wise enough to surely know.
We have pointed out in the Watch Tower the possibility of the last members of the Body of Christ remaining yet for a little time. You remember the words of the Psalmist: "Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand," etc. (Psa. 149:5-9.) This intimates a rejoicing, and it appears to be on this side of the veil, and seems to imply that there might be some of the saints during this time of smiting the nations who would he exercising power while still in the flesh. But we do not know. It looks that way. Some of us might be set up in that sense before our "change" takes place; for the Prophet goes on to say that they shall "execute vengeance upon the heathen the nations' and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgments written. This honor have all His saints." This honor has not come to us yet. You have not bound any kings; neither have I. We are looking to see what this means. We are not to expect the prophecy to be clearly understood until the fulfilment.
Look back at the First Advent. The prophecies relating to that time were not understood until after they had been fulfilled. It was so with the disciples after the Lord was risen from the dead. When He explained the prophecies to them after His resurrection they understood. When He told them before what would take place, they did not understand. It was not then due time for them to understand these things. So it may he with us, that we will not understand until we are in the midst of the fulfilment. We had better leave it for the present with an interrogation point.
Q427:1 QUESTION (1915)—1—The kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." (Matt. 13:45,46.) What is this pearl?
ANSWER.—We might very properly understand the pearl of this parable to represent the Kingdom of God. You and I and all persons have intelligence or something to sell, some[Page Q428] thing to give away, something to exchange. What are you giving? What kind of exchanges are you making? Well, as children we were taught to exchange our time for knowledge; so we began our trading early. We traded off our hours, our minutes, our attention, to get instruction and knowledge. As we grew older we said, "Now we must do something in the way of business." So we went into business, some as bakers, some as clerks, others as dressmaker or milliners, others as wash women, to which we gave our time in exchange for money. One says, "I will be a lawyer, and I will make money and then become able to have an automobile"—an automobile comes first, you know (laughter)—and I will get a house of my own and become prominent and have a good name. Then when I go out with my family people will say "There comes Mr. So-and-So—well thought of!" That is the prize that many set before them. That is the pearl they intend to buy. That is what they are living for. That prize they spend their days and hours and minutes in attaining, planning how they will work their business so as to make money.
Others set before them a different prize. One says, "I would like to be a great physician." So he goes to medical college. He works hard to get his education, thinking, "I will be one of the greatest surgeons in America. That is my ambition." Therefore he spends his time along that line, bending every energy to its attainment. Another man says, "I would love to be a great musician. I love music best of all." This one spends his time and strength and money in mastering this great art. Everything goes for music, because that is his one ideal. And so each person, properly, has some ideal in life toward which he labors.
A child should be early taught to have some ideal in life; and according to the wisdom of the parents will the ideal be more or less reasonable, more or less valuable to the child. Every child should have a good ideal, something worthy for which to work. Children not blessed with good parents or teachers who are able to guide them aright do not get the proper blessing out of life, because the child's mind is feeling out and wishing for something to exercise itself upon.
A young girl in her early teens may say, "I would like to be the wife of some great orator or musician." The youth may say, "I would like to marry an intelligent and accomplished lady." Then is the time for parents to carefully impress the proper and noble ideal, so that the children will early begin to get a real blessing out of life.
Before we come to the Lord, we have one or more of these different ideals or aspirations, some having more valuable ideals and some less valuable. Any of these ideals are better than having no ideal in life. The person who has no ideal and is not aiming at any particular attainment is not doing the best he or she can do for himself or herself. But when we come into Christ, we come to know about the Gospel, about the wonderful High Calling now open, and we have the grandest ideal of all. We have heard about this "pearl of great price," of great value, and have given all we had to purchase it. All the other pearls—the pearl of being a great doctor, a great artist, a great musician, or a model housekeeper, or something else—all these are trifling and insignificant in comparison with this great Pearl, so large, so wonderful, so priceless!
What is this great Pearl, this great High Calling? This Pearl, my dear brethren, is what the Gospel sets before us. The "Pearl of great price" is the Kingdom of God, in which you and I are offered a share. Is it possible for us to get such a Pearl as that? What does it mean? It means glory, honor and immortality, the Divine nature, sitting with Christ in His Throne! We do not get merely a part of these glories. We get all or none. To get into the Kingdom means to have a share with Jesus in blessing "all the families of the earth," and to have a share in all His future glory and honor. This is the Pearl of great price.
Our Lord very forcefully pictured this matter in this parable of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls. You and I and everybody else seek something valuable for which to exchange time and influence. But when we come to see this one thing, this choicest of all pearls, we are so enraptured with it that we are only too glad to sell everything else we have to obtain it. You say, "I will give everything I possess for this!" Then the Lord says, "That will be just the amount required to obtain this great Pearl." If you say, "I would like to keep just a little," the Lord will say, "Then you cannot have it. It will take all you have." Jesus gave all He had, and He had far more than any of us. So we must give our all, whether we have much or little according to worldly estimates. We are getting a Pearl worth a great deal more than thousands of millions of dollars, and all for a few paltry pennies, so to speak! You haven't much to give; none of us have! But our God says, "This great Pearl is for sale. Anybody who has the disposition to appreciate it may have it." So, dear brethren, it is our blessed privilege to obtain this wonderful Pearl if we will.
ANSWER.—(1) A proper, thorough appreciation' of Justice, and a manifestation' of that appreciation of justice by an endeavor to comply with the requirements of the Golden Rule—to love our neighbor as ourselves. (2) A further lesson is that of Love, sympathy, compassion, mercy. However exacting we may be respecting ourselves, our own thoughts, words, and deeds, we are not to exact from others, but be willing to take from them whatever they are pleased to give—as did our Savior. This will mean (3), suffering with Christ, having fellowship in His Suffering. It will mean the learning of valuable lessons to fit and qualify us for the work of being kings, priests and judges with our Lord in His coming Kingdom.
St. Paul emphasized the importance of having the Christ-character engraved on our hearts when he wrote that God's predestination is that all who will be of the Church in glory must be copies of his dear Son—must have the Epistle of Christ written in their hearts. (Rom. 8:28-30.) No matter how imperfect their bodies, how imperfect their attainment of their ideals, those ideals must be according to the Divine standard. And they must be so in sympathy with those ideals as to be glad to suffer for their attainment.
ANSWER.—Well, I might be entrenching upon somebody's rights if I were to give some law on the subject, but I am not a law-giver, merely a law interpreter, that is all. Some people might like it, and some sisters might not; so, love in the matter should be the rule, and it should lead us to be very careful and considerate, and if I were one of the sisters that liked to be kissed, I should not take offense if they did not. Besides, scientists tell us that kissing is a means of communicating diseases, and therefore, not a very wise proceeding. I should think that as a rule a good, hearty handshake would be quite sufficient, but if any like to kiss, I do not know of anything in the Scriptures to hinder, and the law of love is the only thing between the sisters kissing each other and the brothers kissing the brothers.
ANSWER—The "Kingdom" in this Scripture represents those who become true followers of Jesus. "Keys" are a symbol of power to open. To the Apostle Peter was delegated the privilege and authority of first opening the message and work of the Gospel to the Jews, and later to the Gentiles. He did the opening work of the New Dispensation, first to the Jews at Pentecost, at which time as we read, "Peter stood up with the eleven"; he took the initiative, he opened the Gospel invitation to the Jews and the other Apostles followed him. There he used one key. More than three years later he used the other key to open the message of the Kingdom of heaven to the Gentiles when the Lord sent him to preach the Gospel to Cornelius who was the first Gentile to accept the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore the first to become a member of the Kingdom of heaven class. Thus we see that the Apostle Peter long ago used the keys referred to in this Scripture. There will be no occasion ever to use them again. Those who reach heaven will not pass through literal doors.
Q796:1 QUESTION —What did Jesus mean when He declared, "There hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist; notwithstanding, he that is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he?"—Matt. 11:11. (I.B.S.)
ANSWER—To understand this statement of the Master it is necessary to remember the clearly marked distinction between the different "Ages." John was the last of the Prophets and belonged to the dispensation which was closing. The Apostles and other followers of Jesus, on the contrary, belonged to the New Dispensation, which Jesus was inaugurating. The Gospel call is a call to participate in the Kingdom of God—Messiah's Kingdom. Our Lord Jesus is to be the Great King of the World during that Millennial Age; and the Heavenly Father purposes to select from among men a "little flock" to be our Lord's associates in the work of uplifting and blessing the world of mankind. The first to be accepted into this Kingdom condition received the holy spirit at Pentecost. Since then, all who similarly consecrate and are similarly begotten of the holy spirit are accepted as of the same class, namely, as members of the Kingdom class. If faithful through the trials and testings of the present life, these shall be "kings and priests unto God" and unto Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years for the uplifting and blessing of mankind. (Rev. 1:6;Rev. 20:4.) The least one in this class will have a higher station than John the Baptist or any of the Prophets of the preceding dispensation; for all these will be spirit beings on the spirit plane. On the contrary, while John, with all the faithful of the past, will have great blessings, yet, since they will be on the earthly plane, their blessings will be restitution blessings to human perfection, etc.
ANSWER—The Jewish nation was a consecrated nation, a covenant people. They were all baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud when they left Egypt. God accepted them in Moses, the mediator of their covenant at Mt. Sinai but, at the time Jesus was speaking, they had forgotten their covenant, some were openly living as publicans and sinners, and many others were self-righteous hypocrites. John's ministry, therefore, was repentance and baptism for the remission of sins—a return to God and to a recognition of the repentance and reformation of heart and life. Nicodemus was a Jew, and no Jew could become a follower of the Lord Jesus and enter into the kingdom, until first of all he had experienced this reformation and had been baptized, "born of water," in addition to this there must be the begetting of the spirit, and then in the resurrection, the birth to the spirit nature—"born of the spirit." Only those who experience this complete reformation of heart and mind, and who are "changed" in the resurrection, will ever enter into the kingdom of God.
Q797:1 QUESTION—"Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom." Matt. 26:28. Does this idea that some living at that time would continue to live on until the Lord's second advent? (C. W.)
ANSWER—The word "Kingdom" properly rendered is royal majesty. Continuing the narrative on down into the next chapter, it is stated that six days afterwards, the Lord took Peter, James and John and went apart from the rest of the disciples, up into a high mountain, and was there transfigured before them. His face was gloriously illuminated and became as resplendent as the sun, while His raiment was white as the light. The royal majesty of the Lord's appearance, together with the "vision" of Moses and Elijah, and the bright cloud over-shadowing all, formed an overwhelming arrangement of light and glory. The Apostle Peter afterwards, in writing of this glorious scene, declared that they were eyewitnesses of the majesty (royal majesty) of the Lord Jesus, and that they also heard the voice of the Heavenly Father coming from the excellent glory. (2 Peter 1:16-18.) In this way Matt. 16:28, was fulfilled.
ANSWER—This is a prophecy relating to the Church, the Kingdom class, the Kingdom of Heaven in its embryotic state. It has been remarkably fulfilled in the history of the true Church of Christ from the days of John to the present. The "violent," those of the Ishmael and Esau disposition, have always bitterly opposed and persecuted the Lord's true people, and apparently, have triumphed over the Kingdom of Heaven. Many Scriptures teach that this would be the condition of affairs in the world until the time would come when the Lord Jesus, at His second coming, would take unto Himself His great power and authority and establish His own righteous rule in the earth, overthrowing Satan's Empire and setting up the Kingdom of Heaven. The Apostle admonishes the Lord's people to be subject to the powers that be (Rom. 13:1-7) the worldly governments and dominions, but the time would come when these would be turned over to the Lord Jesus and His joint-heirs, and on the ruins of the old, selfish, evil, kingdoms and governments, God's Kingdom would be established, never to be removed.
ANSWER—If you do to the very best of your ability you will get a great lesson as to your inability to do perfectly. Then, realizing that God, cannot approve that which is imperfect and self-condemned, you will he ready to pray, [Page Q798] "God be merciful to me a sinner." (Luke 18:13) Then the Lord will reveal to you the fact that there is only one door of salvation—Christ. Then, still desiring peace with God, you will seek Christ and be found in Him. The most God asks of anybody is that he do the best he can. We all need a Savior, for the reason, as St. Paul declares, "Ye cannot do the things that ye would." (Gal. 5:17) We cannot do perfectly because we are imperfect; we are imperfect because we were born in sin and "shapen in iniquity." (Psa. 2:5) (Psa. 51:5) The Jews, who were under the Law Covenant, tried to justify themselves before God by what they did, but wholly failed. In discussing this question the Apostle points out that the only hope for deliverance is through Chist Jesus, who as the great Deliverer will come and turn away ungodliness from them. (Rom. 7:18-25)
Q798:1 QUESTION—What is the "key of knowledge" referred to in Luke 11:52, where the Lord Jesus said to the Scribes and Pharisees "Ye have taken away the key of knowledge; ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered?" (Y.E.K.)
ANSWER—Some one has said "The summary want of the age is that last philosophy into which shall have been sifted all other philosophy, which shall be at once catholic and eclectic, which shall be the joint growth and fruit of reason and faith, and which shall shed forth through every walk of research the blended light of discovery and revelation." The Bible is just such a revelation and contains that true philosophy which is the basis for all philosophies. It is the "key of knowledge," the Standard of Truth, and all lines of investigative thought which ignore this Standard and are contrary thereto, are "vain philosophies and science falsely so-called." (1 Tim. 6:20.) The "lawyers," Doctors of the Law, the Doctors of Divinity of our Lord's time, had made void the Word of the Lord through their traditions and speculations. (Mark 7:13.) The people, looking to these "lawyers" for true instruction regarding the Lord's Word, were deceived and confused by their false teachings.