June 7, 1908



Pastor Russell addressed a large congregation at Northside Carnegie Hall yesterday afternoon, taking as his topic the two Pentecostal blessings. He took for his texts Acts 2:17-18, giving, as he explained, a preferred rendering, thus: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall declare it, and your young men shall see the visions of which your ancients dreamed. And in the meantime on my servants and on my handmaidens will I pour out my Spirit, and they shall proclaim it." Pastor Russell said:

The importance and significance of the Pentecostal blessing of nearly 19 centuries ago, which still abides with the servants and handmaidens of the Lord, very few seem to appreciate. The reason for this lack of appreciation is found in the fact that very few have received the Pentecostal blessing; and the Apostle explains their situation, saying, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them *** because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14) But to the fully consecrated believers God gives the blessing of His holy Spirit to the intent that they may know the "deep things of God." (1 Cor. 2:10) Only the spirit-begotten ones, therefore, may be expected to understand, to appreciate the signification of Pentecost. To these it signifies the beginning of a new life begetting again, "not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13) Pentecost, therefore, marked the beginning of the Spirit-begotten Church, the Bride of Christ, just as the anointing of Jesus with the holy Spirit at the time of His baptism marked His begetting of the holy Spirit to the divine nature, to which He was born of the Spirit in His resurrection- "the first-born from the dead," "the first-born among many brethren." (Col. 1:18; Rom. 8:29) The Bride class, whose begetting began at Pentecost and which has been in process of development from then until now, will be born from the dead in the first resurrection, and then the glorified Church, sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; sown in dishonor, raised in

glory; sown an animal organism, raised a spiritual organism, will be like her Lord, and the marriage of the Lamb will be accomplished the union of Bridegroom and Bride, of our Lord, the Head, and the Church, His members. [HGL429]


When our Lord left His followers and ascended on high He bade them wait for this holy Spirit anointing as a preparation for the ministry, the service to which He had invited them joint servants with Himself in the cause of truth and righteousness and the divine plan. He said to them, "Tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high." It should be evident, then, to us that no one is authorized to preach or teach in any sense of the word the heavenly things, the spiritual things, except those who have received of the holy Spirit as a preparation, as a qualification. It is not the laying on of human hands that bestows this holy Spirit of the Lord, and hence many who are public ministers of the Lord, possessing not the holy Spirit, being not begotten, therefore, to newness of nature, are blinded and cannot see afar off, cannot discern the "deep things of God," the spiritual things. Such are entirely out of place when posing as preachers of the divine word. But on the other hand the weakest, the humblest of the Lord's people, begotten of His holy Spirit of meekness, gentleness, patience, long suffering, brotherly kindness, love, through a full consecration of his heart to the Lord, is qualified, prepared to dispense truth to others yea, "the deep things of God." Hence we find that sometimes people of very limited education and very limited talents can be and are being used of the Lord in making known the riches of His grace and loving-kindness in Christ Jesus. We do not say that all Spirit-begotten ones are equally competent in the presentation of the truth of God's word; but we do say that all the Spirit-begotten ones are authorized to teach, to expound to the best of their ability; and that this is implied also in the prophecy respecting this anointing, which came first upon our Lord Jesus, the Head of the Church, which is His Body, and at Pentecost was poured forth from Him as the Head to the consecrated members of His Body.

This anointing of the Holy Spirit was typified in the anointing oil used in the consecration of Israel's priests and kings, of which we read in Aaron's case that the holy oil, fragrant with incense, poured upon his head, ran down his beard, yea, even unto the skirts of his garment. Thus Aaron was a type or picture of the Anointed One Jesus the Head, the Church His Body. The divine blessing, poured originally upon our Lord Jesus at the time of His baptism, we are told, was the Holy Spirit without measure, without limitation, because He could thus receive it, being perfect- "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." The blessing that came at Pentecost was the same Holy Spirit that was symbolized by the oil, which by that time had extended down from the head to the body, the Church. But only the first members are shoulders of the body, as it were, for there at Pentecost and since then the Lord has added to the Church others and still others of His consecrated ones, and these, coming into the body, have come under the anointing which needs not be repeated, but which will extend all the way down to the end of the age and consecrate and enlighten and bless all who thus come into true membership into the "Body of Christ, which is the Church," "whose names are written in heaven."

The prophet mentions the coming of this anointing to the Lord as the head, saying, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, for He hath anointed me to preach the good tidings to the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, to declare the acceptable year of the Lord and the opening of the prison doors, and the setting free of the captives" of sin and death. (Isa. 41:1-2) Thus the prophet declares that the anointing signifies or implies the qualifications for ministry, and this implies that those not anointed are not qualified to minister the truth. Our Lord Jesus himself subsequently quoted this prophecy, showing that after the anointing came upon himself He began preaching the message of God's grace to the meek, binding up the broken-hearted and declaring the acceptable year of the Lord the epoch in which God is willing to accept the sacrifices of Jesus and of all those who, walking in His steps, present their bodies living sacrifices in the service of truth and righteousness. This acceptable year or epoch will close when the full number of the elect shall have fully availed themselves of the blessed opportunity of sacrificing their earthly interests. Then, glorified together in the first resurrection, these shall be the divine agency, the spiritual seed of Abraham, for the blessing of all the families of the earth, for the opening of the prison doors of the tomb and the setting at liberty of all the prisoners of sin and of death and for the granting to all an opportunity for return to divine favor and to everlasting life through obedience.


The apostle indicates that the Holy Spirit is a spirit of meekness, gentleness, patience, long suffering, love. But it is more than this, it is a power of God, a begetting to a new nature, an enlightening influence which came at a particular time to particular persons and which was never manifested before that time except in the person of our Lord Himself, as we read of the period preceding Pentecost, "The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." What was it for Jesus to be glorified and what had that to do with the giving of the Holy Spirit? The Scriptures answer that a divine sentence, called otherwise the curse, the sentence of death, the wrath of God, rested upon all mankind up to the time of the Pentecostal blessing; and there that condemnation ceased, passed away, and divine favor came in and was manifested toward a certain few who were ready to receive the blessing. They had previously been prepared for it by our Lord's ministry. He had explained to them that to be His disciples meant to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. He had explained to them that they need not marvel if the world hated them; for it had hated Him, and the servant was not above his Lord. Hence these consecrated ones, full of faith, waited for the blessing of the Lord, which would properly qualify them for His service as well as bring a blessing to their own hearts.

But what was it that our Lord Jesus did that affected the conduct of the Heavenly Father so that the Holy Spirit of begetting was shed forth after our Lord's ascension, but could not be shed forth before that time? The Scriptures assure us that God could not grant His blessing of adoption to eternal life and sonship to those who were the children of wrath; that it was necessary first of all that a redemption price should be paid. Hence it was necessary that Jesus first should be presented and should lay down His life as a sacrifice for sins. This He did during the three and a half years of his ministry, and of this He spake on Calvary, [HGL430] saying: "It is finished." The sacrifice was finished there, but yet the Pentecostal blessing did not come; it still waited until Jesus would be glorified, until He had ascended to the Father. The apostle tells us what our Lord did in the Father's presence, saying, "He ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God on our behalf," to appear before the bar of the Heavenly Court as attorney or advocate for us, His consecrated followers, and for the household of faith. According to a type of the matter given us (Lev. 16) our Lord presented before the Father the merit of His sacrificed life as an atonement for original sin, but he applied it not to all mankind, but merely to the household of faith, including the royal priesthood.

St. Peter tells us that the shedding forth of the Holy Spirit was to be considered as an evidence that the Lord Jesus had appeared before the Father and presented the sacrifice of atonement on our behalf, and that the Father had been well pleased to accept it, and that the shedding forth of the Holy Spirit implied this acceptance. (Acts 2:33) Let us not forget, then, that intelligently to acknowledge the begetting of the Holy Spirit is to acknowledge that even those consecrated to God were not acceptable to Him until after the redemption price had been paid and presented on our behalf.

But let us not forget that the begetting of the Holy Spirit is merely the beginning of the deeper work of grace which is in progress day by day until we shall have been filled by the Spirit, filled with all the fullness of God, until, indeed, we shall be in heart copies of God's dear Son. This Spirit of the Lord is first within us, and subsequently will enlighten us and fill us with the graces and fruits of the Holy Spirit before we shall be meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, before we shall be qualified to enter into the joys of our Lord and share with Him the glorious kingdom and power through which all the families of the earth are to be blessed.


Keeping strictly defined before our mental eyes the difference between this Gospel Age, styled "in these days," and the Millennial Age, which will follow it; keeping also in mind the fact that in these days only the servants and handmaidens get the blessing of the Holy Spirit, and that with equal certainty "after these days," "in the end of the days," in the new dispensation, all flesh will be blessed of the Holy Spirit, let us see first why this will be so, and, secondly, what it will mean to mankind.

We have seen that the Pentecostal blessing upon the Church waited for a certain sacrifice to be finished and to be presented before the Father; that if that sacrifice had never been finished and presented, or if it had not been acceptable to the Father, the first Pentecostal blessing would not have come; and we suggest that similar conditions will attach to the second or the coming blessing. But does someone say, But there can be no more a sacrifice for sins, Christ dieth no more? We answer, Yes, quite true, but the death of Christ is not yet completed; the sufferings of Christ are still going on. According to the divine program those who during this Gospel Age have accepted discipleship in its full meaning have presented their bodies living sacrifices to God. These are the ones who have now been begotten of the holy Spirit as servants and handmaidens, and accepted of God as "members of Christ," "members in particular of the Body of Christ." The sacrificing of these members of the Body of Christ has been in progress ever since Pentecost and still progresses; and, as the Apostle declares, this signifies a filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. (Col. 1:24) The special invitation to these is that, if they suffer with Christ, they shall also reign with Him; their flesh is counted as His flesh. Although they were not worthy according to the flesh to be sacrifices, nevertheless His merit imputed to them has made them worthy; as the Apostle again declares, "Present your bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, your reasonable service." (Rom. 12:1) So then the flesh of the Lord's consecrated ones, the flesh of all those begotten of the holy Spirit as members of the Body of Christ, is being sacrificed, and the exaltation will not take place until the last member of the Body of Christ shall have suffered in the flesh, as the Apostle again says, "As Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind" (1 Pet. 4:1), the same disposition to suffer in the flesh, to renounce the interests of the flesh, to present your bodies living sacrifices, to fulfill the will of God, even at the expense of the interests of your flesh.

Now we see the signification of the Apostle's declaration that the angels aforetime desired to look into these things, inquiring concerning the times and seasons which mark the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. (1 Pet. 1:10-12) The sufferings of Christ, beginning with Jesus the Head and continuing with the apostles as members of His Body and with all the faithful in Christ Jesus since, have now progressed for nearly 19 centuries, and we believe will soon be finished. Then the glory will follow promptly.


In the type on the Day of Atonement, which corresponds to this Gospel Age, the high priest offered two sin-offerings first the bullock, which represented himself personally, and secondly the goat, which represented the Church, his members. We are explicitly told that the two sacrifices were handled alike; that everything was done to the goat that had been done to the bullock; that this corresponds to the Scriptural declaration that we must be associated with Christ in the sufferings of this present time if we would share in His glory and work in the future. But while the two sacrifices were treated alike, the blood or merit of the sacrifice of one was for one purpose and that of the other for another. The blood of the bullock was used to make atonement for the sins of a special, limited class Aaron himself, together with his sons and the tribe of Levi. The blood of the bullock was not offered for any others of the nation. It will be readily seen that this corresponds exactly to the work accomplished 18 centuries ago by Jesus the Lord, when He ascended on high and made application of His own merit and sacrifice, not for all the people, but merely for His Body, the Church, and for His house, the household of faith; and upon these alone came the divine blessing.

The second offering, that of the blood of the goat, on the contrary, was not for the priest and not for the tribe of Levi, but for all the others of that nation. This clearly foreshadows that when the sacrifice of the Church, the Body of Christ, is complete, the blood, the merit of this part of Christ's sacrifice, will be applied on behalf of "all the people," excepting [HGL431] those who were atoned for directly when our Lord ascended on high and appeared for us the household of faith.


Here, then, we see that the second Pentecostal blessing, promised through the prophet and corroborated by the apostle as coming in the last days, at the close of this Gospel Age, will not come upon the servants and handmaidens of the Lord, for they will not need it. By that time they will have been glorified with the Lord, as members of the High Priest's Body. They will have passed beyond the second vail into the Most Holy, the heavenly condition itself. As our Lord Jesus received the blessing of the Father, shed forth at Pentecost upon His members, so the complete Christ, at the finishing of the presentation of the sin offering for the world of mankind, will receive the blessing of the Father the sanction, the permission, the authority, the power to go forth and to bless "all the people," "all the families of the earth."

We are not to understand that this shedding forth of the Spirit upon all flesh will come to them while in a condition of rebellion against God, but rather that as they hear the message of Messiah and seek to come into harmony with His Kingdom, the truth will more and more be granted to them, and more and more they will have the spirit of the truth, the holy Spirit, the holy disposition, accompanied by a power of the Spirit, a power of the truth working in them, energizing them to do God's good pleasure. In some respects their experience will correspond with ours, but not in all respects. The Spirit of the truth, as we receive it, testifies to us respecting a change of nature obtainable through the sacrifice of earthly interests; but the Holy Spirit, as it will then operate through the truth, will testify to all of the possibilities of their attaining to human perfection and uplifting or restitution from the degradation and sin and death conditions back to the image of God, possessed by Adam and lost for himself and all his race by his disobedience, but redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.

During the Millennial Age the world will receive the Lord's Spirit more and more completely as they experience restoration from the mental, moral and physical imperfections of the present time. Thus, while the pouring out of the Lord's Spirit upon all flesh will begin early in the Millennium, it will progress to its close, when all so desiring it will have returned to the fullness of divine favor and divine likeness, and all the unwilling and disobedient at heart will have died the second death, from which there will be no recovery.

Prev   Next