ANSWER—Each person has the right to think about this matter according to his own judgment. In my judgment, it would not be. I would consider it an opportunity for giving a very forceful witness for the Truth. We stand for righteousness, we stand for justice, and for everything that makes for peace. Hence for us to say, "Our King whom we serve has instructed us not to take life, and we cannot, therefore, engage in warfare, and if you think on that account we should be put to death, we are willing to die," would be a noble witness. We are willing to be such witnesses.
The word "witness" is in the Greek marturos, from which our word "martyr" comes. This Greek word means witness, many of God's children witnessing by their death; and our word "martyr" has this thought—one who witnesses by his death. Therefore to die as the result of refusing to engage in military service, to give our influence to war in any way, is one way by which God's people can become martyrs. The world's people will say, "If you do what you are told, you would not have any reason for losing your life." But we remember that the three loyal Hebrews who were cast into the furnace of fire said, "Be it known unto you, O King Nebuchadnezzar, that we will not bow down to the image which thou hast set up." (Dan. 3:18.) So it is well that God's children today should refuse to bow down to the image of war.
Q731:2 QUESTION (1916-Z)—2—I find myself confronted with a problem in which I feel sure you will help me. As you know, we shall have compulsory military service: I am seventeen years of age, and if the trouble be not over by the time I reach my nineteenth year, I feel that I would rather be shot as a "traitor" than to disobey God's command. Is there any way in which we could defend our loved ones without murder? I am greatly perplexed and anxious to do what is right. I shall follow your advice, so great is my belief that God is using you to enlighten those who are willing to learn. Hoping I have not interrupted too long, I am.
ANSWER—We rejoice to know that the Truth is thus being spread in every direction, and that the Lord is using the consecrated talents of His servants everywhere for the sealing of His saints in their foreheads—intellectually—Rev. 7:1-3.
We are glad to note that you are in full agreement with what we said recently in The Watch Tower to the effect that God's consecrated people can have no interest in the war. If there be any excuse for violence and bloodshed anywhere, it would he in the actual defense of the home. The Bible, however, does not lay down laws for the world, but merely for God's consecrated people. To these the [Page Q732] Master's own example and words would seem to teach that although they may invoke every legal protection, barricade their homes, etc., against the enemy, such saints would not be disposed to take the lives of others—even in self-defense. And yet we confess that this would he a very serious test upon nearly all of them.
ANSWER—There is certainly a great deal of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth—much of this going on now in the countries where there is war. There has been plenty of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth all the way down. We are all familiar with the weeping and wailing, but we are not accustomed to the gnashing of the teeth. This means chagrin, disappointment. "O God! I don't see why I should have done it." "I have failed." It signifies disappointment—sharp disappointment. It adds to the figure of weeping and wailing. We have seen much of this. Jesus in describing matters at the close of this age indicates that various classes will have sharp disappointment in connection with them. One would be a class of people who would be hypocritical, and the nominal church systems will have this experience also. The Scribes and Pharisees in the first advent who saw His works and heard His words, and yet treated Him as they did, when He shall come in power and great glory and they who pierced Him shall see Him, will be very sorry and disappointed, and will be found weeping and wailing. So with the nominal church of the present time who think they are heirs of everything that God has that is good, when they shall ultimately see what the Lord really is and does, I am sure that, at that time many people who have been so prominent in religious circles, when they see what the Lord will do, they will have keen disappointment and gnashing of teeth. This does not mean in any wise hell-fire or eternal torment. In regard to the man who had not on the wedding garment when the King came in to see the guests, unto whom he said, "Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?" the inference is that he did not come in without a wedding-garment, because every one had to have one in order to get in, but the inference is that he had taken it off. The question was, why have you taken it off? The wedding garment represents Christ's merit, the imputation of His righteousness, the covering which He provides for His own. This man could say nothing, because he had taken it off. Everything had depended upon this covering at the first, and now, those who take this off, have nothing from the Lord. "Bind him hand and foot and cast him out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" is the Word for all such. Not into hell with fiery torments—it would not be very dark there. The outer darkness is the darkness the world is in now; the same darkness that we were in and which we left when we came into the light of the present truth, and we consecrated ourselves and received the holy spirit. If we go out of this light we will then go into that outer darkness in which we were before, and will share in [Page Q733] the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth which the whole world is to have. After this war comes the symbolical earthquake, then the fire and there will be plenty of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth during that time—that great time of trouble. The whole world will have a share in this. They will have so many disappointments. Anyone who has been in the light of the truth and then repudiated it will have his share with the outsiders in that great time of trouble. Won't some of the saints be there? If any shall be there they won't have any of this weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, because the plan of God will be so clearly before them that they will lift up their heads and rejoice for the reason that the things occurring will presage their deliverance which is now so near at hand. It will be in the midst of these troubles that the great company will have their flesh destroyed.
Q733:1 QUESTION (1910-Z)—1—Is it your thought that only those who consecrate are ever really justified—have the robe of Christ's righteousness imputed to them, covering their sins and reckoning them perfect; that other believers have only the blessing of the knowledge of provision of justification which will be freely given then only on condition that they sacrifice in the footsteps of our Redeemer?
ANSWER—We understand the Scriptures to teach that there is a difference between a faith -justification and an actual -justification. The world during the Millennial Age under the processes of restitution will have full, grand opportunities for advancing from sin and death conditions to actual justification, righteousness—Covenant relationship with God. In the past the Ancient Worthies, because of faith in God, were esteemed by him and treated as in harmony with him, in Covenant relationship by faith, as though they were perfect. But more than that faith-justification they could not attain until after the merit of Christ's sacrifice would be appropriated for them. Christian believers of this Gospel Age are in a still different position. They are justified by faith in the same manner as were the Ancient Worthies, but additionally, Christ, having now made a special application of the merit of his sacrifice on their behalf under agreement that they will not keep it in a restitutionary sense, but that they will sacrifice it—after the manner shown us in our Lord's example.
So, then, at the beginning of our Christian experience we are granted fellowship with God through a faith justification, which continues available for a reasonable time to permit us to come to a knowledge of the grace of God. It permits our coming to a knowledge of our privileges of sacrificing with our Redeemer; in becoming dead with him to all earthly interests, as well as dead to sin. The taking of this stand of consecration—self sacrifice—brought to us Divine acceptance, manifested by the begetting of the holy Spirit, and from that position as New Creatures we must progress and make our calling and our election sure. Those who, after coming to a knowledge of the Truth and to an opportunity of consecration to sacrifice unto death, and then fail to respond obediently, lose their justification, in the sense that it fails to become vital—divinely approved. Such receive the grace of God in vain—they receive a knowledge [Page Q734]of God's mercy and of their own privileges without profiting thereby—without accepting the only "call" of this age.—Eph. 4:4.
Our conclusion or summary, then, is this: There is a justification by faith, which for a time gives a reckoned standing with God in his favor, during this age; but in order for this to become vital justification, it must be followed sooner or later by a full consecration. It is to those who consecrate to sacrifice, "those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice" (Psa. 50:5), and who thus by faith become betrothed to Christ as members of his Body through fellowship in his sufferings—it is to these that the wedding garment is given. At a Jewish wedding, we cannot imagine the offering of robes to passers-by, who merely have knowledge that a wedding is in prospect. The parabolic picture applies to such persons as have heard of the wedding and believed in it and have turned from other works and pleasure with a desire to enter and participate in the matter. Their desires would extend to the taking of the first steps, of entering the door, before they would be handed the wedding garment. So with us. We had a reckoned justification from the time we first believed in Christ, trusted in his merit and heard something of the conditions upon which we could become his joint-heirs. It was not until we had counted the cost and fully decided to enter in, that we were reckoned as members of the Church of the First-born—members of Christ's Betrothed.
Q734:1 QUESTION (1912)—1—When we commit a partially wilful sin, do we apply to God through Christ for forgiveness, or to Christ our Advocate alone. "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous."
ANSWER—If we commit a partially wilful sin do we apply to the Father, do you ask? "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous." Jesus directed His followers to pray to His Father, for He Himself directed His prayers to the Father in Heaven. Our sins are against God, the Heavenly Father, and His Law is thus ignored and broken, but we have an Advocate through whose merits we can come to the Father, but this Advocate does not stand in the place of the Father. "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." If we merely come to the Advocate and do not proceed further we are not going to the Father. We must come to the Father in the Name and through the merit of the ONE who redeemed us. At the same time, I cannot imagine how there can be any objection of the Father or anybody else to our offering a petition or thanksgiving to our Savior for all that He was so willing to do for us. The Scriptures clearly tell us: "All men should honor the Son as they honor the Father." To come to the Son and to respect Him and to offer him a petition [Page Q735] and to give Him our praise and thanksgiving would not be to come to Him and seek His forgiveness for sins we had committed. He Himself gives us this injunction : "OUR Father, forgive us our trespasses."
ANSWER—I don't remember the matter in Tabernacle Shadows. I do not understand the question exactly. Self-will is what we had at first when we came to God, and what we gave up when we presented our bodies living sacrifices. If we do not give up our wills then God does not accept us at all. Whoever did not give his will did not give anything, because the will carries all with it and God would not accept anything else. Now suppose we gave up our wills when we made our consecration to the Lord and suppose we proceed along the pathway of life, and trials and difficulties come to us, and we fail to maintain this submission of our wills; and suppose the will of the flesh is strong, and the will of the New Creature does not conquer the will of the flesh—what then? Then we are not walking after the spirit properly. That means we are yielding something to the flesh, and the Apostle says, if ye walk after the flesh ye shall die, but if through the spirit ye do mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live. So every one of the overcomers will have to mortify the will and the deeds of his flesh and bring it into subjection. Is it possible, for us to conquer the flesh? In our minds it is possible and that is what God is speaking about. He is speaking to your mind and to your heart. You must not consent to sin, you must not be servants of sin. The New Creature cannot take its orders from the Old Creature. The New Creature must be an overcomer. It may be sometimes a hard struggle between the two, but if you have been faithful in putting up a strong fight against the flesh, even if you failed in it, God might count you nevertheless as having been faithful to the extent you were able and give you a blessing, and really make that a strength for you in the future, if you remember that weak point the next time. You would say, There is the place I slipped before. Do you remember ever passing along a street where there was a slippery place and you fell? As you went past that place again you would say, There is the place I fell once. You would remember the spot where you slipped before, where the snow was over it, and how you fell down. I have had that experience several times. Now in spiritual matters it is the same way. Perhaps some place you slipped and fell down and that slip in God's providence may make you very strong on that particular point, because every time you go near there, you say, "Here, beware!" And it will strengthen your character on that very point. So by various experiences our Lord is teaching us in the School of Christ. And what he is looking at, let us never forget is the heart; and if your heart came off a victor, even if you failed in the particular trial at the particular moment, and if when you got up out of the difficulty you went to the Lord, in the name of the great Advocate, and apologized to him, and told him how sorry you were, and how you would endeavor in the [Page Q736] future to do better, then you know that you were forgiven, and a victory was thus gained. You did not count it all when you slipped and fell, but you counted it afterwards when your character was made stronger by following the directions of the Lord's Word and came with courage to the throne of heavenly grace that you might obtain mercy and find help in every time of need.
Q736:1 QUESTION (1910-Z)—1—Suppose some one has in mind an undertaking which he believes is of the Lord's leading, and yet others who are as consecrated to the Lord as himself, seem to think it may not be of the Lord's leading, is there any way whereby he can assure himself that he is right?
ANSWER—We think that it is a good rule, when one is uncertain as to what is the right course, to simply stand still and wait, if the matter can be dealt with in that way. But if it is a matter that cannot be delayed but must be determined at once, it would not do to stand still; but it would be well in many instances to merely stand and wait.
For instance, a gentleman asked us as to whether he should build a house or not. We were not hasty in giving him advice, and he urged us to tell him our thought. After he had told us all the conditions, we advised him not to build, and gave our reasons. We did not attempt to urge our views upon him at all, but left them there. It is well for us to remember not to give too much concern about things that are not in our hands to decide; we would thus save ourselves a deal of trouble. In everything, however, that is in our hands to decide, we should use a great deal of care and judgment and try to find out the Lord's will in the matter.
In the case of people having different opinions about things, we think it well for one, if the responsibility rests with him, to hear what others may have to say and then consider the matter with as much wisdom and judgment as possible, and proceed to act according to his best judgment, taking into consideration the reasons advanced by his friends, bearing in mind, however, that the responsibility of decision is with himself.
ANSWER—The human nature has not a depraved will. The human nature is that which Adam had. The depraved will in us now is because we have merely the depraved human nature. Adam's will as a perfect man was a perfect human will, and the will of the natural man today, because depraved, is a depraved will.
ANSWER—The new human will—I am not sure whether we would best call it the human will. Call it the new will! The new will comes in before we become New Creatures. You must have a will to do the will of God before you seek to do it. And when you seek to do the will of God you will remember that He has directed that you should go to the [Page Q737] Lord Jesus Christ for instructions. Then as you go to Him for instructions, He becomes your Wisdom and shows you the way. But you willed to do this before you came at all. That was a new will, but altogether your own. No matter what gave you the impulse to have a change of attitude toward God and righteousness, it was first your will that willed to do God's will. It was not the New Creature; for no New Creature begins until the spirit-begetting takes place, and that does not take place until after you have your new will.
This will accepts the terms of justification, i.e., it makes a full consecration. When the earthly will—the new earthly mind—accepts the terms of justification, by submitting itself in entire consecration to the Lord, the individual is begotten by the Holy Spirit. Then he becomes a New Creature. We may then still speak of this will as the new will, because the new will does not die in our sacrifice, but it becomes now the will of the New Creature, and is even more conformed to God by reason of its possessor's being begotten of God's Spirit. This new will now begins to dominate everything. It has full control, and only then is it recognized of God. The individual has a new standing from the time when he receives the begetting of the Spirit.
Q737:1 QUESTION (1911)—1—In Revelation we read about the four winds of heaven being holden by four angels that they should not blow upon the earth nor hurt the trees and grass, etc. What do we understand these winds to signify and how soon may we expect them to be let loose?
ANSWER—It is a symbolic expression, of course, dear friends. All the book of Revelation is symbolic. The four winds we understand to represent the completeness, as we speak of a square as being complete, and as the four corners of the earth; and again we speak of north, south, east and west, thus giving the four corners of the earth, figuratively. And it is represented that the angels are holding the winds. What winds? Well, certain winds are represented in symbolic language as being false doctrines—as, for instance, "be not carried about by every wind of doctrine." Here false doctrines are symbolically spoken of, winds that carry about some that are unstable, that do not understand the divine plan; they never get settled as to what anything means, because they have never had a right understanding of the matter. They have never had the solidifying influence of the truth upon them. Then again winds are used to represent strife. And winds again are used to represent war and trouble and confusion. And four winds let loose would represent a whirlwind, you see, as the four would come together; and so the Scriptures represent that in the end of this age, the time of trouble that will come on the earth will be as a whirlwind from the four corners of the earth. Now what will cause this whirlwind of trouble? I will remind you that Satan is said to be the prince of the power of the air, and otherwise he is said to be the prince of demons. These powers of the air, we believe, are the demoniacal powers, the powers of the evil spirits, and our thought respecting the letting loose of those four winds is that it will mean a time of the breaking loose of the fallen angels from the restraint which has been upon them for now about four thousand three hundred years, since the time these fallen [Page Q738] angels sinned, as Saint Peter says, when the ark was preparing—going back a long ways to the days of Noah; they were then shut up on account of their disobedience to God; they were restrained in chains of darkness, Saint Peter says, and Saint Jude also, and this restraint of chains of darkness was to be until a certain time, namely, until the judgment of the Great Day. Our thought is that this text of Scripture has reference to this same power of the air. The same fallen angels; and the breaking loose or letting loose of these from restraint means that the time will come when God will no longer restrain these evil spirits, and that there will be a great time of trouble come upon mankind as a consequence of their being permitted to interfere with the human race. We cannot doubt that certain spirits that worked havoc back in the days of our Lord would have done still worse if they had had an opportunity. We cannot doubt they would do the same today if they were permitted. Evidently, to my mind, the fallen angels have been restrained for all these centuries. The wind has not yet been allowed to blow, the great storm which they willingly would brew has not yet been allowed to come to pass, and will not be allowed to come to pass until the 144,000 shall have been sealed in their foreheads; that is, until the elect shall all have been recognized of God and identified and completed. Then suddenly these evil influences will be allowed to come upon the earth, and a time of trouble will ensue such as never was since there was a nation. Jesus says, "Neither will there ever be again such a time."
Q738:1 QUESTION (1911)—1—If the wise and foolish virgins represented the Little Flock and the Great Company, how is it that the Great Company get in to serve at the marriage of the Lamb after the door is shut and the bridegroom says, "I never knew you?"
ANSWER—I would advise the questioner to read that chapter of studies in the Scriptures which deals with this particular parable in an extended manner. You will get it much more satisfactorily than I can hope to answer it here in the time at our disposal. I could merely say that this parable of the wise and foolish virgins is applied to the end of this age—not to the entire age, but to the end of the age; at about the time that Messiah is to be expected to gather his Bride Class, the wise virgins will go in to the wedding with the Lord. They had the light, they had the blessing, and after all of them have gone in the door to the wedding, the door to the Bride Class, will be closed; and then we read that the other class, the foolish virgins—just as much virgins, you see, both classes were virgins, and "virgins" stand here for pure, or that which is in harmony with God. We are not to suppose these foolish virgins went to eternal torment because they did not have the oil, and we are not to suppose they go to some terrible end because they do not get into the marriage. It is a great privilege to get into the marriage, it is a wonderful privilege to become members of the Bride, the Lamb's wife, only the more than conquerors will get that blessing; then this other class that were over- charged with the cares of this life, and did not take the proper time to examine and get the light, to get the oil—what happens to them? [Page Q739]Here we read that after the wise virgins had gone in, these foolish virgins having gone to buy oil, and finally getting the oil, getting the light, getting the information, become wise then, but by the time they got wise, and had the light the door was shut, the full number, the complete number of the elect had gone in, and there could not be any more come in as the elect. Whatever would come to those would be outside of that special privilege of joint heirship with Christ. Other Scriptures show us that blessings will go to that class, but they will be obliged to prove their loyalty by passing through the great time of trouble and symbolically washing their robes and making them white. When the Lord says, "I never knew you," the translation should properly be rendered, I do not recognize you. That is to say he recognizes only the one class as his Bride Class, he cannot recognize these others as his Bride Class, because they were not found worthy. The pictures in the Scriptures show us that they are to come in and be associated with the Bride Class, in the sense of being bridesmaids or attendants, or servants of the Bride Class, colaboring and co-operating with them; as, for instance, we read in, I believe,—the forty-sixth Psalm, (Psa. 46) where we have a picture given us of the Bride Class, that the Bride is all glorious within; she shall be brought before the King in raiment of fine needlework of gold. Then the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall also be brought in before the King.
Q739:1 QUESTION (1908)—1—In Luke 15:8, we read: "Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?" In an article in the Tower, this woman is shown to represent "divine energy." Is there any other place that woman symbolizes anything but the Church?
ANSWER—I doubt that a little. I do not remember writing that a woman represents divine energy; if I did I have forgotten it. We would have to have the quotation from the Tower before we would ever believe that women represented divine energy. I have great regard for the sisters, but I did not know that woman was ever used to symbolize divine energy. I don't think I ever said so; if I did, I was thinking of something else. The reference is not given and the quotation is not given. The fact that something in the Tower might be misunderstood would not surprise us any. Why, we find a whole lot in the Bible that has been misunderstood.
ANSWER—We understand it is. We are not to understand by this, however, that woman is the glory of the man in the sense of being more glorious than the man; nor that the Church is the glory of Christ in the sense of being more glorious than Christ; nor that the Son is the glory of the Father in the sense of being more glorious than the Father; but we do understand that the Father is especially glorified in the Son because of the closeness of the relationship existing between them and because of the honor that the [Page Q740]Father has shown the Son. Similarly Christ will be glorified in the Church because the wonderful glory that will be manifested through the Church will be a reflection of the glory of Jesus—all as a result of the Father's grace through him.
Q740:1 QUESTION (1910)—1—In Zec. 13:6, we read, "And one shall say unto him, what are these wounds in thy hands? Then shall he answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." The above text has been offered as proof that our Lord, at his second advent, will have a body of flesh. Kindly throw a little light upon it.
ANSWER—Well, I do not know that I can throw any particular light upon it, except that we know that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. He is to be the King and therefore he cannot be flesh and blood. Therefore, to my mind that settles the matter. I would suppose that this was the way God was pleased to state the matter through the prophet, so as to call attention to the fact that our Lord would be wounded in the hands in the house of his friends. As we read, "He came unto his own and his own received him not," but wounded him, crucifying him.
ANSWER—No; nor does He every day order the stars in their courses, nor the earthquakes, famines and pestilences. At the present time, because of sin, the entire course of nature is permitted to be out of joint, so far as this earth is concerned. Our weather is not ideal at all times; God knows this and permits it as a part of the penalty of death upon Adam's race. Present conditions are not what God would have provided for Adam and his posterity had sin not entered into the world. Extremes of heat and cold, floods and droughts, death-dealing tornadoes and cyclones are the world's portion as criminals under death sentence; they are parts of the curse. Christians are not exempted from these, but are required to walk by faith, sharing the world's experiences; yet by this faith and the Holy Spirit to recognize themselves as "sons of God without rebuke" (Phil. 2:15), learning through all life's experiences lessons which will fit them for their future work of glory with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom. God's promise is that then there shall be no more curse—no more dying, no more crying. Instead, the time will come for the restitution of man and his earthly home to the perfection of grandeur of the Edenic condition (Acts 3:19-21.) Thus God will make the place of His feet, the earth, "glorious." Paradise lost will be Paradise regained.
ANSWER—If we have not wholly become God's people by consecration, His message to us is, "This is the will of [Page Q851] God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3). If we are His people we are to search His Word, which has been written for our benefit. In it He says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Pro. 3:5,6). When we are perplexed we should go to Him in prayer, resting content with whatever He may permit, study His Word and seek to be guided thereby. He has said to us, "All things shall work together for good to those who love God, to those who have been called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28). We will, if we follow this course, soon learn to appreciate the fact that all the precious promises in the Bible are for the guidance and benefit of the Christian. Exercising faith in these, we should use our best judgment to follow the Lord's will in all things, carrying no anxious thought respecting the future and watching for His providential leadings.
ANSWER—In the symbolisms of the Scriptures a "woman" represents a church. Just as the Church of Christ is said to be the "Bride, the Lamb's Wife." The false churches or anti-Christian religious systems are symbolized as wicked women. (Rev. 17:5.) The number seven is always representative of fullness, or completion, in the expressions of the Bible. Therefore, we have the picture before our minds of a time when the full number, or all of the churches (in this case the false churches) would be seeking to be called by the name of the "one man"—Christ—in order that their reproach might be taken away. These churches, which in reality are worldly organizations, as they are filled with a worldly spirit, and supported by worldly individuals, are being reproached more and more because of their worldiness; and recognizing this, they are strenuously claiming to be "Christian Churches." The "seven Women" are taking hold of the "One Man," but He does not recognize them, as He has but the one Bride, the true Church.
Q851:2 QUESTION—May I ask your views on the "Woman's Suffrage" question? Should women have equal rights with men? What is the attitude of the Bible toward this momentuous subject? I use the term "momentuous" advisedly because the Suffrage Movement is extending around the world, and to my mind is one of the most important phases of the general conditions existing in these hyperbolical times. (F.E.W.)
ANSWER—It is very evident to the close observer that men and women, the world over, are more and more approaching a condition of equality. This is largely due to the changing state of affairs in the industrial and social realms. Women are entering in upon every line of accomplishment in the commercial world, and in the realms of art, science, and literature. They have been driven into the world of business and industry by the harsh competitive[Page Q852] system of the day, and having taken their position side by side with men in every other walk of life, it is the logical sequence in the trend of events that they should enter in upon conditions of equality in the political arena. This is well, and is certainly in agreement with what the Scriptures indicate will be brought to pass in the "times of restoration" (Acts 3:19-21) the thousand years in which the race of humanity will be restored to the perfect conditions represented in the first man, Adam, before Eve had been formed from his side. Adam combined in himself the masculine and feminine qualities, and when Eve was formed for the purposes of propagation, the feminine qualities were incorporated in her personality. When the race has multiplied sufficiently to fill the earth (Gen. 1:28) propagation will cease and the members of both sexes will become as Adam was before Eve was formed. See Mat. 22:30.
ANSWER—We have every reason to expect the world's conversion to Christ not many years hence, but perhaps this work will be brought about in an entirely different way and manner than is usually supposed. The Scriptures clearly foretold that the world would be far from being in harmony with the Lord and His righteous laws at the close of this present age or evil world. (Rev. 11:17,18; 2 Tim. 1:5; Mat. 24:37-39.) And that it would not be until after our Lord's second advent that all the nations would be brought to a knowledge of the truth, the way of salvation, and then converted to Christ and His rule of love and kindness. Meantime an election is taking place which when completed will result in the formation of a special class of the Lord's earnest devoted followers who when glorified and united with their Lord in the spiritual or heavenly realms will constitute the governing body, the Kings and Priests, under whose righteous administration, the nations shall all be taught of God and learn righteousness. (Isa. 26:9; Isa 54:13.) It will require all of the thousand years of Messiah's reign to subdue all unrighteousness and bring into subjection all evil and error. "For He must reign until He has placed all enemies under His feet even death the last enemy shall be destroyed." 1 Cor. 15:25,26.
ANSWER—According to the Scriptures the term "world" signifies age or dispensation. Three great worlds are outlined in the Divine Plan of the Ages, as revealed in the Bible. (See 2 Pet. 3:5-13.) The first "world" or dispensation passed away at the time of the Flood. The second "world," or "present evil world," is likewise to pass away, in a fiery time of trouble—not a literal "fire," but a destructive season of lawlessness that will destroy the "elements"—labor, capitalistic, etc., etc., that go to make up the present social order. "The world to come wherein dwelleth righteousness" will never come to end, but is to [Page Q853] continue throughout eternity. The world that now is" (Titus 2:12) is already being violently shaken, and is beginning to crumble away financially, politically, socially, and ecclesiastically. The evidences about us, in the fulfillment of the Scripture prophecies, are clear and strong that within the next decade, the new and better order ("the world to come") will be established in the earth.
ANSWER—In some respects the world was never better than it is today. We know of no time in history when the public press so fearlessly and boldly exposed wrong doing as now. Education has helped to bring about better moral conditions. Of course a great deal of this morality is on the surface, as it was in the closing days of the Jewish Age, when Jesus told the chief religionists that they were whited walls, outwardly beautiful, but inwardly corrupt. The Apostle, in the Scripture to which you refer, evidently had in mind the deceivers and leaders astray in the Church. These, in the end of the Age, will become more bold; as foretold, their deceptions will become strong delusions, following which many will believe a lie (2 Thes 2:11). "They shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1). Many theological teachers today are denying the Bible and advancing strong arguments in favor of Higher Criticism, Evolution, etc., thus growing worse and worse in repudiating the "faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3,4), "deceiving and being themselves deceived."
ANSWER—This Scripture is in conformity with the united testimony of the teachings of all the Prophets and the Apostles to the effect that the world's judgment day, or trial time, is not in this present Christian Era, but is yet future—"God hath appointed a day (a thousand year day—2 Pet. 3:8) in the which He will judge the world in righteousness." (Acts 17:31.) Those who, in association with Christ, shall judge the world in mercy, justice and love, are now being qualified for that high office, by having developed in them saintly, Christlike characters. These "saints," who have learned to love their neighbors as themselves, and who even love their enemies, are the ones who, in the future age, will offer every inducement to the world of mankind to come into harmony with the gracious requirements of the Divine Law of love and justice and receive eternal life. The fact that the followers of Christ are not judging now proves conclusively that the world is not on trial for eternal life at the present time. The judgment day, in place of being a time of terror, distress and sorrow, is represented in the Scriptures as being a special time of joy and gladness for the world.—Psa. 96.