St. Paul Enterprise, February 8, 1916


New York City, February 6 Pastor Russell gave a characteristic discourse here tonight at the New York City Temple, W 63rd St. and Broadway. His text was, "We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." (Acts 14:22) He said in part:

God gave the kingdom of earth originally to Father Adam, and put everything in subjection to him. But Adam lost his dominion through sin. Then God imposed upon him the death penalty, which was shared through heredity by all his posterity. Jehovah God, fore-knowing man's fall from his holy estate, had provided beforehand for his recovery. In due time, more than four thousand years after the pronouncement of the death sentence, Jesus came to earth to give a Ransom price whereby man might be restored to Divine favor and have an opportunity to gain life eternal. Our Lord's death was the turning-point of the world's history. 1 Cor. 15:21, 22.

Abraham's natural seed, the Jews, were expecting all that God had promised in respect to His favors and the Messianic Kingdom. But there was another feature of God's Plan which they did not see. This was the selection of a church to be Abraham's Spiritual Seed, through whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed. Today we are entering upon the seventh thousand year since man's creation and fall man's great Sabbatic Year. The Church is almost completed. The time for the setting up of the Kingdom has come.

Ever since man lost his kingdom its restoration has been more or less vaguely expected. At the time of the fall God declared that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. All the blessings implied in this statement looked forward to the Messianic Kingdom, through which man's first dominion was to be restored. Now this Kingdom is just at hand. Therefore we are living today in the [HGL795] most important period of the world's history. As the poet has said:

"We are living, we are dwelling, In a grand and awful time, In an Age on ages telling; To be living is sublime."

These words seem almost prophetic of the glorious time to come, and these glories are about to burst upon the world. But the world will enter into that Kingdom through much tribulation. Mankind are not ready to appreciate their needs, their impotency. They have been thinking that they could do almost anything. Leading minds have thought that they could heal the world, could properly govern and bless it. But now it is gradually dawning upon the people that these hopes and plans are abortive. Now we see their schemes going to pieces. The theories and projects of those Christian people who a short time ago assured us that soon they would convert the world are being scattered like chaff before the wind.


These nations which have claimed to be Christian, to be Christ's Kingdom- "Christendom" are demonstrating that they have not understood the real Kingdom at all. Instead of being Christ's Kingdom of blessing and peace, they have proven to be Kingdoms of blood-shed, kingdoms of this world. God will bring in His Kingdom through great tribulation, as foretold by the Prophet Daniel and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21) This tribulation has already begun. We can hardly imagine anything worse, but present distresses are only "the beginning of sorrows". Darker and darker will grow the times until men's hearts shall utterly fail them. All their cherished hopes and plans will be overthrown by the mighty whirlwind of trouble. Then earth's rightful Kind will take control and bring order out of confusion. Upon the ruins of human institutions, plans and shattered hopes men shall see arise a glorious new arrangement which shall be "the desire of all nations".

Men's hearts are already failing them though fear of the things which they see coming upon the earth. (Luke 21:25-28) This is because they are entering into the coming Kingdom through much tribulation. God cannot introduce His Kingdom through peace and blessing. Men have no ears to hear his Word. They are too busy looking after their own projects and affairs, too busy making money. They care not for God, do not appreciate him. Consequently they require a catastrophe to awaken them. The coming great tribulation will do this most thoroughly. The ears that now hear only the jingle of money will then open to hear something much more important. Men will begin to cry unto the Lord, as upon the Sea of Galilee the disciples cried unto Jesus. Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the waves; and immediately there was a great calm. Matt. 8:23-27; Psa. 46.


An examination of our context reveals the fact that the Apostle is referring, not to the trouble upon the world, but to that upon the Church. Living at the beginning of the Gospel Age, he was telling the Church of the tribulations necessary to fit them for the positions in the Kingdom to which God has called them. So surely as we are God's children we shall have tribulation. At first our painful experiences are not seen to be a blessing; but after a while we come to see that adversity drives us nearer to God and gradually develops strength of character.

The Church will not share the world's tribulation. Those who are called and chosen and faithful will be accounted worthy to escape those things coming upon the world. (Luke 21:36) The tribulation of the Church will be different from that of the world. Our Lord Jesus suffered tribulation. That of the Church will be similar to His. Messiah's entrance into the Kingdom is different from the way in which the world will enter. Jesus enters as King; and the church is invited to share with Him His Kingdom, as joint-heirs, under His Headship. The world will enter into the Kingdom as subjects of the King.


We are beginning to see reasons for every feature of the Divine Plan. The Church is called to wonderful glory and honor. In Rev. 14:1-3 we read of a song which no one could learn to sing except the hundred and forty-four thousand who will, with their Lord and Head, constitute the Church in glory. This song is a Message. We who have learned are singing it in all the affairs of our lives. The world does not understand this song; neither does the Church nominal, nor do the babes in Christ. A Christian must get beyond the infantile state before he can sing this new song.

Not all Christians have the ability to sing this song. Some can sing it more appreciatively than can others. The whole Divine Testimony, whether communicated by the Law, the Prophets, our Lord or His Apostles, is in harmony; and this fact is the proof of their Divine inspiration. The Scripture of the Old and New Testaments constitute what the Lord Himself calls "the Harp of God." When tuned by the holy Spirit dwelling in our hears, and swept by the fingers of devoted searchers after Divine Truth, that Harp yields the most entrancing melodies that ever fell on mortal ears.

Once some of us harped about civic righteousness, prohibition, female suffrage, etc. But now we have something far grander. We have the most important subject in all the world. We are harping about the Divine Plan of Salvation. We have the Message of God, the glad Tidings which yet shall be to all people. We are ambassadors for the Lord. He has accepted us in Christ, and has authorized us to tell His Message to all who will hear to tell them that God will receive into His favor again those who come to Him through the Savior, through faith in the precious blood of Christ.

But when we come to discuss some of the deep things of God, we sing, as it were, a new song. It is not really new, however; for it was sung in the days of the Apostles. But it has been so long forgotten that it is practically new today. All of the people of God are privileged to learn this song. Some learn it more quickly than others. It is "the song of Moses and the Lamb." Rev. 15:3, 4.

When we come to see how great is god's Plan, formed before the foundation of the world'that Jesus should be the Lamb of God, that would take away the sin of the world; [HGL796] that in due time God would select a Bride for his Son; that afterwards He would establish the glorious Messianic Kingdom for a thousand years, in order that every member of Adam's race might have an opportunity to hear of God's love in Christ and be saved; and that eventually all the willfully wicked would be destroyed we are indeed ready to say, "How wonderful are Thy works, O Lord! Who shall not come and worship Thee!" Preparation For Future Exaltation

It is to this class who can sing "the song of Moses and the Lamb," those who have given their hearts to the Lord, who have been accepted by the Father, and who have become the children of God through spirit-begetting it is to this class that our text applies. How reasonable is the thought that we should enter the Kingdom through much tribulation? If the Master needed tribulation in order to be perfected as a Son, to demonstrate His love and loyalty to the Father's will, how could we expect to be treated differently? How otherwise could the Heavenly Father recognize us as His children?

Perhaps we once wondered why the Lord permitted such trials and tribulations to come upon the righteous, while the wicked often had a comparatively easy time. Now we see why this is. God has invited these righteous ones to become kings and priests, to reign over the earth during the next Age; and in order to qualify for this great work this class must reach a certain condition of mind and heart, a certain development of character. Unless they learn their lessons they will not be prepared for their future high station. Every one exalted to reign in the Kingdom of God will be qualified for his place; otherwise he will not be there. No one will be appointed through favoritism or partisanship. Each individual must thoroughly demonstrate his fitness.

No trial can overtake us that is not subject to the Lord's control. He will make all things work together for good to those who love Him. If we would be of the Church of glory, we must become like our Lord, who loved righteousness and hated iniquity. We must be thoroughly honest. We cannot do as do others, for the reason that we are following a different course. Ee have entered into a Covenant with God, not only to love God with all our soul and to keep the Golden Rule, but to do more in order to be merely just we are bound to love God and keep the Golden Rule. Jesus did all this and more. He loved His neighbor far beyond what He would have His neighbor do for Him. His love led Him to die for others. We are privileged to do likewise.

We must live up to the Golden Rule. Above all things we should learn to appreciate and practise the Golden Rule; for it is a fundamental principle in God's requirements. The Heavenly Father must have the first place in our hearts. god must be first. We must intend to love our neighbors as ourselves, although we may not always be able to do so. While we may not be able to do all that we would, yet the longing to do so must ever be in our hearts. And it is this honest will that brings us into conflict, necessarily, with those of a contrary will.

Thus we see whence this tribulation comes to the Lord's people. In the case of Jesus. his name was cast out as evil, because he was true, because He was honest, because He would not join with the scribes and Pharisees, because He was wholly loyal to the Lord. And "the disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. If they have called the Master of the House Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His Household?" Matt. 10:24-26


Throughout the Gospel Age God's people have been prepared for the Kingdom "through much tribulation." St. Peter speaks of them as "living stones," for the great spiritual Temple. Of that glorious Structure Jesus is the Chief Corner Stone. He has already been chiseled, polished and taken His position. The last members of the Church are now being chiseled and polished for whatever place they shall occupy in His glorious Temple. for more than eighteen hundred years the work of preparing the "living stones" has been in progress. Their tribulations have been preparing them for their position in the Temple structure.

But if under the Lord's chisel or hammer any one should fail in obedience, in submission, in loyalty, in learning his lesson, he might become unfit for the place to which he had been invited, and thus become what St. Paul calls "a castaway". (1 Cor. 9:27) He might serve some other purpose in the future, but he would not be fit for the place for which he was originally intended.

We should submit ourselves fully to God. We are to be "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10) It is God who is working in us both to will and to do. When first we gave our hearts to Him, He was working in us to will. After the spirit-begetting that followed our consecration to Him, our minds began to expand. We began to grow in grace and in knowledge. Then we began to see and appreciate our privilege of serving the Lord. Thus God's grace worked in us to do.

God does not accept works as a ground of justification, however. We are justified because of our faith in the Ransom-price provided by our Lord Jesus. Until we became children of God we had neither opportunity nor ability to do any work that God would accept. Now that we are related to Him as children, He is working in us. But we have hardly begun our good works as yet. They are to be carried forward throughout the Millennial Age, and on into the eternal future.


But now we are not able to do much. Our main work now is to show God by our endeavors what we would like to do. We may make heroic efforts; we may do our very best in the Lord's service; but after all there is little that we can do, and that little is done very imperfectly. Our work is acceptable to God because of the honest, earnest, loving effort which He sees; for it represents our heart's sincere desire to do His will. When we first come to God, we have not learned to do things in a wise way; and we are often like a child carrying a pail of water and spilling more than he carries home. God lets us have these experiences, that we may learn wisdom by our mistakes. Meantime, He accepts the will that prompts our act, imperfect though it be. [HGL797] We are not, therefore, to become discouraged because of our mistakes and imperfections. As we seek to serve our Heavenly Father. He is very tender and merciful to us. Let us take everything to Him in prayer, and persevere in the good way. Let us cultivate in our hearts a strong love for everything that is right, that is noble, that is Godlike. We are to love righteousness and hate iniquity injustice. This rule should apply to all the affairs of life, both great and small. We should always take our stand for what is right.

Then let us have our minds so thoroughly established in righteousness that when the Lord shall give us a perfect body, we may be ready, may be found worthy of a share in the glorification of the overcoming Church. But let us remember that we shall not get the necessary qualifications by miracles, but by trials, difficulties, tribulation. (Rom. 5:3-5) For it is written, "We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God."

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