The Brooklyn Citizen, 1914


Sept. 13 Pastor Russell took for his theme today the parable of the sheep and the goats. His text was, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." (Matt. 25:46.) The Photo-Drama of Creation depicts this subject of the destiny of humanity, and greatly assists the public to understand the Scriptural usage of the words Sheol and Hades, so long misunderstood and misrepresented. The Pastor said:


God has stated times and seasons for every feature of His great Plan for the Salvation of Mankind from sin and death [HGL614] conditions. In the end of each of these seasons there has been a finishing up of its work and a clearing off of the rubbish, preparatory to the beginning of the work of the incoming Age. Thus in the end of the Jewish Age there was a Harvest a separation of the wheat class from the chaff and a complete rejection of the latter class from God's favor. With the few judged worthy in the end of that Age a new arrangement began the Gospel Age and now we find ourselves amidst the closing scenes of this Age the Harvest during which the wheat class and the tare class are being separated. With the wheat class, of which our Lord Jesus Christ is the Head, a new Age, the Millennium, is about to be inaugurated. At the close of the Millennial Age there will be still another Harvest, in which the sheep class will be separated from the goat class, and ushered into the glory of the ages to follow.

In the past many of God's people have read their Bibles very carelessly. Our minds have been sluggish to spiritual things. For instance, the parable of the sheep and the goats was at one time applied to the church. We failed altogether to notice that it does not say even one word respecting the Church, but it applied to the world, the nations, the heathen. For many centuries the Jews had been accustomed to think of themselves as God's nation, God's people; all others they styled heathen, gentiles, the nations, the people; and in the Old Testament prophecies God has treated the subject from that standpoint.

In line with this usage, when Spiritual Israel was received into Divine favor as the Royal Priesthood, the holy nation, the peculiar people, all the remainder of mankind were properly enough to be thought as the nations, the Gentiles. Following this thought, our Lord tells us in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats what will befall the nations after His Kingdom shall have been set up after the selection of the true Church class to be the Bride, the Lamb's Wife.


That this parable refers to the work of the incoming age is clearly indicated in the opening verse. There the Master distinctly says, "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory." The scene of this parable evidently is laid after the Time of Trouble, when the nations shall have been subdued, Satan bound, and the authority of Christ's Kingdom established. Before that time shall have come, the overcoming Church will have been seated with her Lord as His Bbide in His Throne. As the Apostle writes, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" 1 Cor. 6:2.

Then follows a description of the work of the Messianic Age: "Before Him shall be gathered all nations." All the people in the world, except God's holy nation. His peculiar people, the Church of Christ, will be gathered before the great white throne of Divine Justice, Mercy and Love. First will come the living nations; and then in their appointed time the dead of all nations will be called to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, there to receive a fair, impartial trial as individuals under the most favorable circumstances, the outcome of which will be a final sentence of worthiness or unworthiness of life everlasting.

Six thousand years ago, in Eden, Adam and his entire race were on trial for life. But Adam failed, and was sentenced to death. His posterity, sinning in him, were sentenced in him; and none of his race are worthy of everlasting life. All are sinners; "there is none righteous, no, not one." But in due time God sent His Son to die for Adam's sin, in order that "as by man came death (of the entire human race), by a man (Jesus) also will come the resurrection of the dead (the entire race of Adam); for as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive" - "every man in his own order." 1 Cor. 15:21, 22.

The first order to be made alive in Christ in the Church, which has been called out of the world, separated, begotten of the Holy Spirit. This class pass their trial, their judgment, for life or death everlasting in the present time. Hence the worthy ones, those whose characters are pleasing and acceptable to God, will be quite ready to be the Bride of the Messiah, joint-heirs with Him in His Kingdom and His associates in His work of judging the

world. He has promised that all who are faithful shall sit with Him in His Throne (Rev. 3:21) the very Throne pictured in the parable under consideration the Throne before which all the nations, all people outside of the Church, will be gathered.


The gathering of the world will be the result of knowledge. The Time of Trouble will lead on to great enlightenment; all the blind eyes will be opened, all the deaf ears unstopped, and the knowledge of the glory of God will fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea. There will be some, however, who will resist this knowledge and will decline to accept Christ as their Mediator; this class will not enter into this judgment, but after one hundred years of resistance will be destroyed.

Those who constitute the two classes mentioned in the parable, the Pastor declared, are those who have accepted Christ's terms and desire to be on judgment, or trial, for life everlasting. This will include all that are in their graves; they will come forth, not all at once, but gradually. Messiah's Kingdom will exercise its power and disseminate the knowledge of God and of the principles of righteousness, with a view to encouraging, helping and uplifting all the willing and obedient. All such may arise gradually out of sin and death conditions up out of imperfection of mind and body, up out of immoral conduct to the full image of God, as possessed by Father Adam in the beginning.

The entire Millennial age will be required to bring this about. Righteousness will reign then, as Sin reigns now; that is to say, righteousness will be the in ascendency, in the control. Then who ever sins will suffer promptly. Hence all mankind will avoid sin; and the world in general will be a grand place; "nothing shall hurt or destroy;" "the inhabitant shall not say I am sick;" the curse shall be gradually rolled away, and there shall be no more crying, no more sighing, no more dying; the blessings of God will prevail, bringing perfection. Surely it will be a happy day for Humanity; and all who live throughout the thousand years will receive great blessing. [HGL615]


The Pastor then discussed the subject of punishment for sins committed in this life. He showed that will be equally as just for God to forgive the sins of the world for Christ's sake as it has been just for Him to forgive the sins of the Church for Christ's sake. If the one is just, so will be the other; for God is no respecter of persons, and is equally as willing to forgive the sins of the world as the sins of the Church, when the world repents and turns from sin, accepting Christ as their Redeemer.

This does not mean, however, that justice will be ignored. In the case of the Church, the sins of youth often leave their scar and sting to the end of life; and so we may reasonably assume that certain stripes, or punishments, will be permitted to follow the world in just the same manner. It will be from these weaknesses and frailties that they will be gradually raised up to perfection during the blessed thousand years of Christ's Kingdom, when Satan will be bound and unable to deceive anyone.

Some may reason that if conformity to the Divine Law in an outward way will bring blessings to all, there still may be an inward difference between people, some coming heartily into accord with the Father, and others merely assuming an appearance of harmony because this harmony will be the way to perfection. Undoubtedly this reasoning is correct. It is along this very line that the parable under consideration teaches. Outwardly the sheep class and the goat class will have much the same appearance and demeanor, except to the Judge, the King, who will read the heart and ultimately will manifest to all that there has been a real heart difference between the two classes, all of whom will have been on trial for a thousand years, receiving blessings from the Messiah's Kingdom.


Meantime each individual on judgment will be making character. This the Great Judge will fully appreciate, and will rate the individual either as a sheep or as a goat. All the sheep class will thus be received at the right hand of the great Jehovah; and all the goat class will be rated as out of favor with Him, even though all the while they will be receiving the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom and outwardly rendering obedience to its laws. Not until the close of the Millennium will the decision of the Judge be manifested. Then both sheep and goats will show great surprise at His decision.

To the sheep class the Judge will say, "Come, ye blessed of My Father (the kind that My Father is pleased to grant everlasting life), inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." When God laid the foundation of the earth and planned for its human habitation, it was His design to give it to you. Now has come the time for you to enter into this kingdom and possess it.

This is not the Messianic Kingdom. On the contrary, it is the kingdom which God gave Adam, but which he lost through disobedience and which Christ redeemed by the sacrifice of Himself. It will be given only to those who will have developed the God-like character those who during the Millennium have become the Lord's sheep.

To the goat class He will say "Depart, ye accursed ones (doomed ones), into everlasting punishment." Granted all the privileges, blessings and experiences of a thousand years of contact with righteousness, truth and the Spirit of God, you indeed render an outward obedience, but at heart you have not come into harmony with God. I cannot present you to the Father as blameless and irreprovable. You must be destroyed in the Second Death- "everlasting destruction." The penalty upon you is everlasting, because there will be no further provision made for your redemption or your resurrection from this Second Death. You will be as though you had never been. You have failed utterly to appreciate the goodness of God and to copy His character-likeness. Eternal life is for those only who have the Divine likeness and spirit.

Both classes were surprised at what the King, the Judge, declared to be the basis of His judgment. To the sheep He said, "I was hungry, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me." The goat class, He declared, had failed to meet these tests. Both sheep and goats claimed to have no knowledge of such experiences. But the answer was, inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, or did it not unto them, ye did it, or did it not, unto Me.


Then the Pastor explained who these are respecting whom there will be a test upon the sheep class and the goat class, and how it is that there will be sickness, poverty, hunger and prisons during the Messianic Kingdom. With the establishment of the Kingdom all who come into harmony with it will have the great privilege of doing something to help others. The world is blind and starved now, for want of spiritual food and the anointing eyesalve of Truth. While the Millennial blessings will be showered upon those who accept the Lord's terms, there will be others who will need assistance. Those who have the Spirit of God, the spirit of love, will be glad to carry the Heavenly Message of reconciliation to all humanity, glad to apply the eyesalve to the blind, glad to unstop the ears of the deaf, glad to help the sin-sick back into harmony with God, glad to help them to cover their nakedness with Christ's merit.

Those who take pleasure in this work will thereby demonstrate that they have God's Spirit and are co-laborers with Him. All these will be the sheep. But those who are careless respecting their Vow, and merely enjoy the Millennial blessings themselves, will be of the goat class and will thus mark themselves as goats. Correspondingly they will be out of favor with the King of kings, their Judge.


The prison referred to in the parable is undoubtedly the great prison-house of death, into which approximately twenty thousand millions already have gone. All these are to come forth, not all at once, but "every man in his own order," as the Scriptures declare. Only the Church will be in the First Resurrection. During the Millennium the awakening from the sleep of death will, we believe, come about by Divine Power, of course, but in answer to prayer. [HGL616] Each family circle, as it can prepare for another and another member, will be glad to do so, and will make request for his return. Thus the race will come out of the prison-house in reverse order to that in which they entered, and will be acquainted with their friends and relatives, who will have prepared for them and will identify them.

While the blessing of the Lord will provide an abundance for all, nevertheless we may safely assume that the provision will be in the hands of their fellows. It will be the sheep that will be especially interested in those in the great prison-house of death, and who will be praying for them and preparing for them.

By so engaging their time and energy these sheep will be manifesting a purpose, a will, in harmony with that of the Creator. God has willed that all in the graves shall come forth at the command of the Lord Jesus; and those in harmony with God and Christ will be co-laborers with God in accomplishing the work for which Christ died. Whoever is not interested in that work will be lacking in God's Spirit; and this is exactly what is charged against the goat class.

The King, having redeemed the world of mankind and having provided for the resurrection of all the redeemed, counts them as in a certain sense representing Himself, as He says in the parable. His reproof to the goat class indicates that they were not really interested in the things of God. Their interest was merely a selfish one. They had more or less of the spirit of selfishness, which is the spirit of Satan.

The Lord's provision, as the Apostle points out, is, "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," but "the wages of sin is death." Rom. 6:23.

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