Pittsburgh Gazette -September 5, l904


Pastor Russell was at home yesterday, but expects to speak at New Albany, Ind., next Sunday. He spoke yesterday afternoon as follows:

"Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price." "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold but with the precious blood of Christ." 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 1 Pet. 1:18-19.

Ye do make void the Word of God through your traditions, was our Lord's charge against the scribes and Pharisees and doctors of divinity in the "harvest" of the Jewish age; and we must bring a similar charge against corresponding classes in the "harvest" of this gospel age. Human theories are rapidly making void and meaningless the precious testimonies of God's Word, recognized by all of His true people for centuries. One of the most serious deflections, one of the most important, because touching one of the most vital doctrines of the scriptures, is the rejection of the testimony of our text. The unreflecting among the Lord's people will be disposed at once to say that this is a false charge that ministers and Christian people in general of all denominations are still loyal to this fountain principle of the gospel, that they still believe and teach the doctrine of the ransom, briefly expressed in the hymn once so generally sung, but now as particularly avoided:

"Naught of merit or of priceRemains to Justice due; Jesus died and paid it all-Yes, all that I did owe."

This doctrine of the ransom or purchase of our race by the precious blood of Christ is not only ignored by modern up-to-date theologians, but is absolutely obnoxious to them, irritating. During the last 50 years all the colleges and seminaries of Christendom have gradually been absorbing human traditions and theories which are violently opposed to this scriptural teaching. If the one is true, the other is false there is no compromise possible. Maintenance of the scriptural teaching on this subject would mean the death of the false theory; the acceptance of the false theory means the rejection of this scriptural doctrine of "a ransom for all." It will be recognized that I refer to the higher critical teachings and the evolution theory associated therewith. Inquiry will show that nearly all the ministers of nearly all denominations are believers in the doctrine of evolution that the progenitors of our race, instead of being created perfect and upright in the image of their Creator, were evolved from lower animals, and were much further from the Creator's likeness than mankind in general of today even the most brutish.

On this point the whole of Christianity depends. We repeat that there is no possibility of compromise. If our first parents were but one remove from the brute creation they were not in God's image and likeness, and consequently the scriptural declarations of their trial for eternal life are absurd, for who could think even for a moment that a being on so low a plane of life could in any sense of the word have been placed on trial before the perfect law of God. And if such a trial would be a mockery, an absurdity, then the scriptural teaching of a fall from the divine likeness and image into sin, degradation and death conditions would be equally untrue and absurd. How could a man who was but one step in advance of a monkey fall into sin and degradation? How could the account of Genesis be true? How could the testimonies of the apostles be true, "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world and death as the result of sin, and so death has passed upon all men because all are sinners"? Rom. 5:12.

And this line of thought, of man's fall from the divine likeness into sin and under the divine sentence of death, prevails throughout the entire scripture record. God's first dealings with the nation of Israel promised them relief from the conditions of "the curse" and promised that God would send a great Messiah with whom that people might become participants in the work of blessing the world and lifting mankind in general out of the sin-and-death conditions of the curse. How absurd, how false, how deceptive this would be if the views of modern theologians respecting the gradual evolutionary development of our race from Adam until now be true in any particular or degree.


It was in harmony with God's declaration to the Israelites that they and all the world were sinners that He provided for their reconciliation to Himself through the media of atonement for their sins by sacrifices of bulls and goats, etc. These sacrifices, as the apostle points out, were not claimed to be complete, but merely covered the blemishes of that people for a year following their Day of [HGL240] Atonement. When the year expired the merit or covering of the sacrifice was at an end, and the whole people were again in sin and required to repeat the same sacrifices. The apostle points out that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins for that reason the sacrifices must be offered yearly.

St. Paul points out also that those sacrifices "offered year by year continually" never took away sin, but merely covered the sins temporarily. He explains that all this was typical as indicating the method by which God would eventually cancel completely the sins of the whole world through a better sacrifice than that of bulls and goats. He points out also that our Lord Jesus came into the world for this very purpose that he might be the real sin-offering, for the sins of the whole world, and that he might thus actually and permanently effect a cancellation of those sins. His message is: "God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish, but have everlasting life. God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world (the world was already condemned) but that the world through Him might be saved" delivered from the sins, weaknesses and blemishes affecting all by heredity and from the death penalty resting upon all because of sin.

Those affected by the higher critical and evolutionary blight will tell us that they believe that "in a certain sense" God sent His Son that they believe He came to give us more light than we could have had without Him, etc. We answer that we will discuss the "more light" emanating from our dear Redeemer as "the light of the world" at another time, but now we want to call attention to the fact that a Christian from the scriptural standpoint is not one who believes merely that Jesus was a great teacher and light-bearer to the world, for heathen people believe this much of Jesus, even as we believe that some of the heathen teachers were noble men, superior to the masses; and infidels of the rankest kind believe that Jesus lived, and that He died, and that He was a good man, and that He was a wonderful teacher, and that He left a remarkable impress upon the world. Such a belief is not to be considered a test of Christian faith in Christ.

The test of Christian faith which differentiates it from such beliefs as the foregoing that are common to infidels, heathen, higher critics and evolutionists and the whole world is a very particular one. It relates to Christ's death and to what was the object of His death. The Christian faith once delivered to the saints, in which heathen and infidels and higher critics and evolutionists cannot join, is expressed most pronouncedly in the scriptures. Mark the apostle's statement: "I delivered unto you first of all (as a primary foundation of Christian faith) that which I also received (as a primary teaching), how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that he rose again on the third day" - "for our justification." (1 Cor. 15:3-4.) The name Christian properly belongs only to those who thus believe that the death of Christ was not of an ordinary kind, not for His own sins, not a debt of nature, but a penalty or price which He paid for our sins, as expressed also in our text. "Ye are bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ."

Hear again the word of our Master Himself, and who will dispute that He was well informed respecting His own mission and work? He says, "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto (served) but to minister (to serve others), and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:28.) The stress of this entire statement lies upon the word ransom, which in the Greek is lutron anti, and which means "a price in offset." The harmony of this with our text is evident, and the thought is plain to every mind not warped and prejudiced by the traditions of men, which make void the word of God. It means that Christ in giving His life gave the offset or purchase price, for Adam's life, which for himself and his race was forfeited through disobedience. Since we were all in Adam's loins at the time of his disobedience and at the time the death sentence was passed upon him, his race were all sharers in his sentence, and consequently all must be

sharers in his redemption; and hence it was the divine arrangement that our Lord Jesus should give His life as a price in offset, a price that would correspond to the penalty which was upon the race he would redeem.


The Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy makes this very plain, and distinctly declares, "There is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:5-6.) Here again we have the same English word ransom with the same meaning, namely, "a corresponding price" a price in offset. The Greek word is a compound one, with the two parts in reverse order to their statement in the previous quotation. There it was lutron anti, here it is anti lutron. The signification is the same and is indisputable. In this last text the apostle is speaking about our Lord Jesus as a Mediator, and here again is the thought that man had so fallen from his original relationship to God that as a sinner he could no longer have access to or communion with God could no longer hope for divine favor and eternal life because a sinner; and that to meet the emergency, God still maintaining His justice of character and laws provided a Mediator a go-between who, dealing with God as the sinner's representative, might also deal with the sinner as God's representative, and thus eventually bring about a full and complete reconciliation. And the word reconciliation, elsewhere used in the scriptures, signifies that there had been a conciliation, a harmony between God and His creatures, which had been lost through sin, and the mission of the Mediator was and is to again conciliate, or bring again into harmony, God and man.

There are two parts to this mediation or reconciliation (1) The Mediator first of all as man's representative pays man's penalty at the bar of divine justice, and thus effects a cancellation of the just penalty against man the death penalty. (2) On the basis of such a payment of man's penalty, divine justice can accept the mediation, and can allow the Mediator to thus act as the divine representative toward man to bring him back to the state or condition similar to that which he had originally bestowed upon him and from which he fell where he can again in the image [HGL241] of his Creator possess the blessings and privileges originally bestowed in Eden.

It was to effect the first of these two steps of mediation that our Lord Jesus left the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, and was made flesh and died for our sins purchasing Adam and his race with His own precious blood from under the sentence of everlasting death, everlasting extinction. Had He not died for our sins the divine penalty "the soul that sinneth it shall die," would have remained forever upon Adam and all of his posterity there would have been no resurrection, no future life. It is in view of the fact that "Christ died for our sins" that we may have hope for a future life by a resurrection of the dead.

Time does not permit us to take up the numerous scriptures which corroborate the statement of our text and of the other passages already quoted from the scriptures showing that our race was purchased, bought, and that the price of this liberty from death, the price for this hope for reconciliation with God, centers in the death of Christ as our redemption price.

Lest there should be any misunderstanding on the subject, lest the misrepresentations frequently made should seem forceful, we call your attention to the fact that the word bought in our text is no mistranslation of the original, which is agorazo, and which signifies an open or public purchase, a purchase in the open market. We note also the fact that our English words redeem and redeemed, so frequently used in the scriptures have the same import and are from the same Greek word agorazo. For instance, this word is rendered redeemed in Rev. 5:9 , "Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." In Rev. 14:8 , "Which were redeemed from the earth," Rev. 14:4 , "These were redeemed from among men." Exagorazo signifies to purchase out publicly, and occurs in the following scriptures: Gal. 3:18 , "Christ has redeemed us from the curse," Gal. 4:5 , "To redeem them that were under the law."

True, other less forceful original words are sometimes translated redeemed and redemption, words which signify a setting free without signifying that the freedom is secured by the payment of the price, but this does not at all affect our argument, nor nullify the fact that a score of texts declare that the setting free must be effected by the payment to justice of "a corresponding price." The scriptures declare that the whole race was sold under sin through the disobedience of Adam, and that there is only one way for us to get free from his sentence of condemnation, namely, through the redemption which is in Christ; and that redemption is the ransom, the corresponding price which He paid.


Because the evolution theory, the no-ransom theory, is rapidly undermining and destroying true Christian faith that distinguishes a Christian from the world, that distinguishes the wheat from the tares therefore we emphasize this point and assure you, not that the great mass of religious teachers are in danger of falling from the faith once delivered to the saints, but that the majority have already fallen that they no longer believe the primary foundation of the gospel of Christ upon which all the other features of the gospel of Christ upon which all the other features of the gospel are built. They are no longer teachers whom God recognizes, but as expressed in Rev. 3:16, they are spewed out of His mouth, are no longer used as His mouthpieces for the promulgation of His message. Their deflection will be more and more manifest as days and months and years roll by. The true people of God, both clergy and laity, are gradually but surely taking their places either for or against the Lord and His message and faith in the efficacy of the precious blood for the cancellation of sins is one of the tests the principle one. And the cleavage on this line grows wider daily, separating "wheat" from "tares," in this the "harvest time." Those who take the traditions of the elders and the theories of the higher critics and evolutionists are against the word of God and hence are against God Himself opponents of God and His gospel no matter how dignified or learned, and no matter with what formalism they draw nigh to the Lord with their lips, while their hearts are far from Him and the plan of salvation which He has formulated and which He is carrying out.

The sooner all learn the true situation the better. Matters have already reached such a pass that every Christian parent should know that in sending his son or daughter to any of the colleges of today he is sending them to hot-beds of infidelity, and ninety-nine chances to one their faith in the teachings of the bible will be nullified, destroyed they will return to propagate their unbelief outwardly and publicly or in secret. Let us not be misunderstood; we have nothing personally against the gentlemen we criticize; many of them are fine men, talented, able, and generally speaking, honest. Many of them find it difficult to restrain themselves from the more honest expression of their views respecting the scriptures, the atonement of Christ, etc., and practice their deception against their preferences "for the good of the cause," hoping that gradually their evolutionary conceptions will displace the teaching of the scripture and that thus a complete revolution in the church will be effected with but slight commotion. Already, indeed, any who believe in the scriptures, in the story of the fall of our first parents, in the miraculous birth of Christ, in His death as our redemption price, in His resurrection as our redeemer to set mankind free from the original penalty by restitution, etc. whoever thus believes is already looked upon as an old fogy, a back number, stupid or ignorant, or both.

Let us not be afraid of such criticisms; let us stand for the Lord and for His word at any cost. The Lord's favor in the end and the peace and comfort meanwhile will far more than offset all the unpleasant things that may be said respecting us in the present time. "Greater is he that is for us than all they that be against us." God, His plan, and His book which reveals that plan, will be found triumphant eventually, and, as the scriptures declare, the wisdom of the worldly wise shall perish and the folly of their course will be manifested.

We do not claim to be own grounds; we do not claim to be able to prove from outward evidence the full truthfulness of all the statements of the Bible and its divine inspiration; we do not claim to be able to read the rocks and to explain every feature in full [HGL242] accord with the Divine Word; but we do claim that the scriptures give internal evidences which are satisfactory to all those who appreciate them. We do claim that the plan of God set forth in the scriptures, when rightly understood, is most reasonable, most just, most wise, most loving that no scheme which man could possible invent could compare in beauty and reasonableness with the plan which God has already arranged and of which the scriptures are His expression.

I received a letter last week which illustrates this internal power of the scriptures when rightly understood. It is from one of our colporteurs engaged in circulating the Millennial Dawn volumes. I will read from his letter: "Believing that it might be of interest to you I will relate how the truth of the Bible as set forth in Millennial Dawn, affected a very rank, outspoken infidel, an old French doctor 85 years old, a reader of the infidel journal, 'Truth Seeker,' and an admirer of Robert G Ingersoll, of whom I was warned repeatedly that he was poison to all preachers and religious workers."

"Unheeding the warnings I called on him. He seemed nettled and asked if we taught that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. When I replied affirmatively he wanted nothing more to do with me or with the book, said that he had enough of Christianity, that its whole foundation is a fraud and a fake from first to last."

I asked proofs, which led him to a weak attempt to entangle the Biblical records, the Levitical priesthood, etc. Soon he left the Bible and attacked modern theology, Christian (?) governments, etc. I soon showed that his arguments touched neither the Bible nor the Dawn and presently got his attention. He bought the first volume, "The Plan of the Ages." had become deeply interested in Bible study, and is selling the books for me among his friends. Really words can scarcely express his great change of this man's disposition, once haughty and sarcastic, he is now docile and friendly.

From this standpoint we may see the force of the divine statement through the prophet, "Your ways are not as My ways, nor your plans as My plans, said the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My plans higher than your plans." Isa. 55:8-9. Those who come to see the scriptures in their true light find no poetical exaggeration in the statement of the hymn, "It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do."


This first clause of our text would be meaningless if the purchase feature of the second clause were eliminated. As it is it stands in full accord as part of the divine testimony respecting what has been accomplished by our Lord, and the influence which a knowledge of this should have upon all those who have "an ear to hear" the good tidings. We have already pointed out that the secondary part of Mediator's work is that, after having satisfied divine justice by paying the death penalty that rested upon man, the Mediator's work will be to bring mankind back into accord with God. This work of Christ belongs to the next age, the millennial age, and respecting it the Apostle Peter declares, "Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He shall send Jesus Christ who before was preached unto you; whom the heavens must receive (retain) until the times of restitution of all things that God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:19-21.

During that glorious millennial age the great Mediator, Jesus Christ, and His faithful followers, the church "whose names are written in heaven," glorified as His bride, will bless the redeemed world with every good favor necessary to them. All shall be brought to knowledge of the truth, all shall be taught of God through the great Mediator, all shall be helped out the weaknesses and imperfections which came upon them through the fall, and which in many instances were accentuated and increased by personal wrong doing; all shall be sympathetically dealt with with a view to making them understand fully and distinctly the love of God which passeth all understanding, and that the love of God is being manifested through the Redeemer and through no other channel that there is no other name given under heaven and among men whereby we must be saved, and that obedience to the great Immanuel will be the only terms upon which they can hope to return to their "former estate." Eze. 16:55.

The blessing thus extended through the Mediator will first reach to all the living families of the earth, and "the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the face of the great deep." Eventually the same blessing shall be extended to "all who sleep in the dust of the earth." Dan. 12:2. As our dear Redeemer declared, "The hour is coming when all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth." Some who in the present life have passed their trial acceptably and have been approved by God as overcomers will come forth to the life resurrection, and the remainder, disapproved, will come forth unto the judgment resurrection (R V) The latter will be the great mass of mankind, since only a few at the present time have this testimony that they please God.


But, some may inquire, why preach that Christ's work for the world as Mediator belongs to the coming age to the millennial age? Why should we not think that it belongs exclusively to the present age? Why should not our Lord have begun at once the work of reconciling the world to God as soon as He had finished the great atonement sacrifice? These are fair questions and they deserve a candid answer, which we will give them.

The apostle declares that God was, in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their transgressions unto Him but imputing those transgressions resulting from the Adamic fall to Christ, who died for those transgressions, and who redeemed Adam and us all from their condemnation. The work of reconciliation from God's standpoint in a large sense is one work, but divided into two parts. First, God would find a "godly seed," a little flock of a peculiar class, very zealous for truth and righteousness. These in the divine plan are to have a special salvation, different from others of the race; they are to be selected first, much as we would separate the cream from the milk. This cream class the Lord has designed yea, says the apostle, has fore-ordained "from before the [HGL243] foundation of the world" to be a special class, to receive special favors at His hands, including a participation in the divine nature and in the heavenly glory, honor and immortality, as the bride and joint-heirs of Christ.

Second, the divine arrangement is that when this special class shall have thus been glorified as the members of Christ and his joint-heirs, then the second step in the work of reconciliation shall proceed, and all the families of the earth shall be brought to most favorable conditions for character development and testing, with a view to their attaining the "restitution" to all that was lost human perfection, and those rights and privileges and blessings as earthly children of God, for whom he will prepare the whole earth as a "paradise of God," still grander and more complete than was the Eden garden that was lost through sin.

From this scriptural standpoint we can see distinctly why the Lord places the blessing of the world in the next age and the blessing of the church class in the present age. The trials and difficulties and oppositions of the world, the flesh and the adversary of the present time contribute to the polishing and testing experiences by which the Lord will prove and separate those accounted worthy to be joint heirs with His Son in the kingdom the "Bride, the Lamb's wife." The blessing of the world delays until this gathering, testing and glorification of the church is accomplished, because the church is to be associated with Christ in the millennial age blessings; hence they are called the kingdom class, as when our Lord declared, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to five you the kingdom." This is the same kingdom mentioned by the Lord in the prayer taught His disciples, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is done in heaven." It is this kingdom for which we wait, "The kingdom of God's dear Son," which is to institute a reign of righteousness, restraining evil, promoting good and eventually blessing and uplifting to perfection all who will obey the laws of that kingdom under full enlightenment and assistance, and will destroy in the second death all who will not thus come into accord with the Lord. Acts 3:23.


The scriptures declare that the majority of mankind are at the present time so blinded by selfishness, ignorance, prejudice, etc., as to be incapable of discerning the divine plan. The apostle specifically declares this, saying, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not." Our Lord intimated that those who will be able to see the truth in the present time are few when He said, "Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear," and again, "He that hath an ear let him hear." While it is a part of our privilege to tell the good tidings to every hearing ear, to show the wonderful love of God to every eye that can see, nevertheless it is not for us to feel unkindly toward those who can neither see nor hear, but rather to rejoice that God's love and wisdom are such that the divine plan shall ultimately include in its provisions the opening of all the blind eyes and the unstopping of all the deaf ears, to the intent that all may know the Lord from the least to the greatest, that to Him their knees shall bow. Isa. 35:5; Philip. 2:10.

In the meantime during this gospel age, as our text implies, those who do see the divine arrangement, who do see that we are bought with a price, who do see God's arrangement for giving eternal life to those who will obey the Mediator all such should realize that they are "not their own," that they were bought with a price; that their lives and all they have, therefore, belongs to the Lord. The apostle in another place, addressing this class, says, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God (in your redemption), that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service." (Rom. 12:1.) Such a service, such a life of sacrifice, is reasonable only to those who see something, at least, of "the lengths and breadths and heights and depths" of the love of God; to others the world, including merely nominal Christians and moralists the matter is different. Because they do not see by faith, they cannot walk by faith, and from their standpoint the sacrificing of present interests in favor of a life and glory and honor unseen, would be an unreasonable service, Such are not "called." "The Lord knoweth them that are His."

By and by when the world comes to "see," when it comes to walk by sight and to have practical evidences and demonstrations of the power of God, and the will of God, the world's responsibility will proportionately increase, and eventually by the close of the millennial age it will be their "reasonable service" also to consider that they are "not their own," to appreciate that being bought with the precious blood of Christ their lives and everything they have should be freely at the Lord's disposal. Nevertheless the Lord will not then accept sacrifices as He does now. The privilege of sacrificing is a special and peculiar one, as it is written, "Now (during this gospel age or day) is the acceptable time" now is the time when God will receive these living sacrifices, accounted holy and acceptable through the merit of Christ. The holy angels have no such opportunities, neither will the holy people of the world in the next age have opportunities for sacrificing, so far as anything in the scriptures would indicate. This special privilege of realizing the Lord's favor and participating with Christ in the sacrifice, self-denials, etc. in the present time belongs only to the church class of this gospel age, and the rewards to this church class are correspondingly greater than any others God has ever given, and, so far as we know, will ever give glory, honor, immortality, the "divine nature." 2 Pet. 1:4.

Dear brethren and sisters, let us who have had the eyes of our understanding opened to some extent, watch and pray that they may open wider and still wider to all the grandeur and beauty of our Heavenly Father's character and plan; and let us show our appreciation of His great love wherewith He loved us in our devotion to Him; and let the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts and so far as in us lies, all the conduct of life, be such as will have the divine approval, so that ultimately by the Lord's grace we may be accounted worthy; that, having suffered with Christ in this present time, we may share also in the glorious time to follow the kingdom of glory.

The Lord willing, at some not distant date we will consider the fruits of the ransom, of the lengths and breadths of the salvation secured by the great atonement sacrifice. We [HGL244] close with the apostle's words, "We thus judge that if one died for all then were all dead; and that we who live should henceforth live not unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us." 2 Cor. 5:14.

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