The National Labor Tribune November 1914


Q' Will the wicked be as correspondingly unhappy in Gehenna as the saints are happy in Heaven?

Answer' We understand that the word Gehenna, translated in our common version by the word hell, has reference to the final punishment of the willfully wicked. The Scriptures clearly state that all the wicked will God destroy. We should be inclined to think the word destroy would not in any sense mean preserve. We know from the Word that the wages of sin is death, and to the general understanding death means the opposite to life. We are not, of course, forgetting that some theologians read the word death to mean a state of conscious existence in some form or other, but we think it would be well if we view the matter from an untrammeled standpoint. The Scriptures put it thus: "The dead know not anything," and in the day they die, that very day "their thoughts perish." We understand that the gift of eternal life is only for those who love God; consequently as the wicked do not love Him, it follows that they cannot have this gift of eternal life. The proposition is, therefore, one of life or death, not conditions of life in both cases; so the saints will live eternally, while the dead will be dead eternally. If the wicked cease to exist how can they experience either happiness or misery? The Scriptures say: "There the wicked cease from troubling." If they were allowed to remain there would be no end to their troubling. God will finally exterminate sin, and with the sin all those who love it to the extent of becoming willfully wicked.

Q' Are there any traces of the "Flood" to be seen at the present day?

Answer' Geologists tell us that there are distinct traces of great forces of Nature in the form of rushing water, glaciers, or huge icebergs having cut deep ravines in mountains and hills of America and N W Europe. Huge boulders, too, are found perched in isolated positions, far from their parent rocks. The plains of S E Europe and West Asia are, on the other hand, covered with heavy deposits of alluvial soil. In Lake Baikal and the Caspian, both inland waters, are seals of the same species as found in the Arctic. In Siberia bodies of animals mammoth, elephant, deer have been found embedded in ice, with undigested vegetable food in their stomachs. This proves (1) that at one time the climate was temperate, if not even tropical; (2) that a sudden deluge of water overtook these animals; (3) that this was accompanied with a sudden fall in temperature. This was the flood. The temperature of the water vapor previously surrounding the earth gradually fell till it reached the condensation point. Then, as students of physics know, the canopy would suddenly fall as a mighty deluge. This canopy now being removed, the earth was more exposed to the absolute cold of space, the result being that ice fields were suddenly formed around the poles. These are being gradually dissipated through radio-activity and internal heat of earth. The deep deposits of black earth, under which stone implements have been found, show that in the vicinity where the Ark rested, the waters rushing mainly from the poles, lost their velocity and came to rest.

Q' How shall we know the true followers of Jesus, of whom it is written, "The Lord knoweth them that are His?" In what are they peculiar and different from the general masses? By what name are they to be known? Are they a coterie of the rich or of the learned, or of the great?

Answer' To this latter question the Scriptures answer, no! and assure us that among them will be found not many great, not many wise, not many learned, but chiefly they will be of the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the Kingdom. We must look then for some other sign, some other characteristics by which we may know these. Our Redeemer gives the key, suggesting the characteristics for which we should seek. He says, "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for the other" (John 13:35). He emphasizes this, saying, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34). Here we get the thought that the Church is a blessed brotherhood of all those who not only love God supremely so that they delight to do His will even at the cost of self-interest, but who also love one another as Christ loved them, which signifies to the extent of willingness to lay down their lives for one another. The Apostle Peter points out that the Lord's followers should "Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing; but contrariwise blessing, knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing" (1 Pet. 3:8, 9). The proper brotherly love would not only submit to injustice without retaliation, but would return blessing. How few of us have ever realized the standard of brotherly love the standard that the Lord demanded of us when He taught us to pray: "Forgive us our transgressions as we forgive those who trespass against us." When all shall have reached that standard, the race will be in the "image and likeness of God."

Q' Do those in the justified condition receive the grace of God?

Answer' The grace or favor of God is manifested in different ways. The most elementary knowledge of the Divine provision for human blessing is an evidence of having received that much grace or favor, and surely each justified one received much grace in the fact that they know of the "grace of God in Christ." But no doubt there are some to whom this most blessed knowledge concerning God's justifying grace has come, who nevertheless fail to see the import of such provision, and consequently fail to make the full and proper use of it. Such are said to receive the "grace (favor) of God in vain." Had such known the full value of justification they would have at once made it the means of whole-hearted consecration, and thus made vital that which otherwise would have been merely tentative. The Apostle beseeches believers to present their bodies a living sacrifice, and thus avoid the receiving of God's favor in vain. [HGL624] Q' Has God in his wisdom provided any confirmation in the world that the Bible is true?

Answer' There are proofs all around us that the Bible is true. The prophecies of the Old Testament are being fulfilled before our eyes. The Bible teaches the fall, condemnation, redemption, and restoration of man. We have not far to look to see the result of the fall. The whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain together until now, waiting for the "golden age of prophecy." That a man called Jesus of Nazareth lived about the time indicated by the writers of the Bible is a fact of history outside the Bible, and also that he was crucified we know that he died to redeem man at his first Advent. He comes again to take possession of the purchased inheritance at his second Advent. We can now see that the time is near when "the desire of all nations" shall come, but we also see this will come through a time of trouble (see Daniel 12). Men "running to and fro" in motor cars, express trains, ocean-greyhounds, etc., and knowledge increased on all subjects, are convincing evidences that we are living in "the time of the end." The fact that the prophecies have been opening up and are being fulfilled as they become due is surely confirmation that the Bible is true.

Q' We read in Eccl. 1:4 "The earth abideth forever." How can we reconcile this with 2 Pet. 3:10; Mic. 1:4; Isa. 11:6; Heb. 1:10, 11 and Rev. 20:11, 21:1?

Answer' In Eccl. 1:4 the reference is to the literal earth. In confirmation that the earth remaineth forever, see also Psa. 119:89-90; Psa. 115:16; Psa. 104:5. That 2 Pet. 3:10 refers to the symbolic earth is proved by the fact that it declares "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." Now, if we understand the earth in this verse to be the literal earth, to be consistent we must also take the heavens in the same verse to be literal heavens where God is. But surely no one thinks that, else heaven would be no safer than earth, nor as safe, for the heavens are to pass away before the earth. The explanation of these references is that the "heavens" represent ecclesiastical powers, and the "earth" organized society, both of which are to be destroyed in the Day of the Lord now upon us. Zeph. 3:8 states the nature of that fire, "the fire of God's jealousy." That it is not literal but symbolical fire is proved in the verse following, which tells of the people turning to and serving the Lord with one consent, which, of course, could not be the case if they were burnt up.

Q' Matt. 2:14 says that Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus fled to Egypt because of the persecution of Herod. Luke 2:21-23 tells us that after forty days of purification specified in the Jewish Law (Leviticus 12:2-4) Jesus was publicly presented at the Temple at Jerusalem. Can you harmonize these two statements?

Answer' There should be no difficulty in reconciling these two statements when we consider attentively the sacred narrative. In Matthew's account it is stated that Herod, when he discovered that the "wise men" had left the country without informing him of the time and place of the Savior's birth, was exceedingly angry. He sent and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the "wise men." Evidently, then, it was some time after the Lord's birth, perhaps a year or more, before Herod resorted to the extreme measure of slaying all the children from two years old and under. Herod knew the time, approximately, of the Savior's birth (verse 7) and therefore would have no reasonable cause for slaying the children up to the age of two years, unless nearly that time had elapsed from the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem announcing the advent of our Lord. It may have been several months after Jesus' public presentation in the Temple before Joseph and Mary journeyed down into Egypt.

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