St. Paul Enterprise February 9, 1918 – Reprinted from New York American


Pastor Russell preached twice here today [Boston, Mass., May 28, 1911]. He had large and intellectual audiences as usual. We report one of his discourses from the text, "I go to prepare a place for you; . . . and I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also" (John 14:2, 3). The speaker said:

Doubtless we all have in mind the fact that we have just passed die anniversary of our Redeemer's Ascension to the right hand of the Father-to the highest place in all the Universe, next to the Almighty Father. He ascended up where He was before-to the spirit plane of being, with added excellence of glory and honor, the reward of His faithfulness and obedience to the Father's will, even to the sacrificing of His life at Calvary. He ascended, the Scriptures declare, from the more humble condition of human nature, a little lower than the angels, to the exalted condition of the Divine nature-far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named.

The work for which the Logos left the heavenly glory has not yet been accomplished. He has suffered the just for the unjust, giving His life a Ransom-price for all; but this was merely a means toward an end, and that end has not yet been accomplished-the blessing of Adam and his fallen race. Thank God, however, that the great, broad foundation has been laid. Thanks be to God, also, that a great preliminary work has been in progress during more than 18 centuries since His ascension. That preliminary work is the preparation of the Church of Christ to follow Him in faithfulness and self-sacrifice to exaltation with Him to the Divine nature, glory, honor and immortality, which was His reward. '2 Pet. 1:4


If, in times past, we have too carelessly studied our Bibles and confused God's special blessing for the Church as the Bride of Christ, with His subsequent blessing for the world through Messiah and His Bride, let us do so no longer. Let us note that as the Divine Plan for the salvation of the world could not begin before the coming of Jesus, except in a typical sense, neither can it begin to operate until the complete selection of the Church-until her perfecting as the "Bride, the Lamb's Wife," in the First or Chief Resurrection.

The antitypical sacrifices which Jesus began still continue to be offered by Him. Those desirous of becoming His Bride and joint-heirs with Him in His Kingdom are now qualifying for that exaltation. The invitation to them is that, renouncing sin and accepting the Savior, they shall "present their bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God" -following in the footsteps of their Redeemer.

In a certain sense this presentation of the entire Church took place, representatively, in the Apostles and others of the five hundred brethren who believed at the first. They were representatives of the entire Church, and the acceptance of their sacrifice and their begetting of the Holy Spirit, their espousal at Pentecost, represented the acceptance, the begetting and espousal of the entire Church from then until now. We are merely following in their steps; we are merely under-members in the same body- "The Church of the first-borns, whose names are written in heaven." 'Heb. 12:23

St. Paul distinctly points out that the Church is not yet the Bride of Christ, but merely espoused. He writes, "I have espoused you as a chaste virgin unto one Husband, who is Christ." The period of espousal will not be complete until the close of this Age, when the last member of the body shall have been accepted, and when the first or Chief Resurrection (to the spirit plane) shall have been accomplished-the marriage or complete union between Christ and His Bride in the heavenly glory.


As the Redeemer was the first to ascend to the glorious station of the Divine nature, far above angels, principalities and powers, and as the church is to be His associate in that glory, it was necessary that He should precede her to prepare the way. Our Lord's own worthiness of exaltation to the Divine nature was witnessed by the Father in that He raised Him from the dead a quickening Spirit, to glory, honor and immortality.

But before the Church could, in any sense of the word, be made acceptable in the heavenly courts, it was necessary that the Redeemer should "appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb. 9:24). It was necessary that He make application or imputation of the merit of His sacrifice on behalf of the Church before their sacrifices could be "Holy and acceptable unto God;" and only by their sacrifices and the Divine acceptance of them could they be begotten of the Holy Spirit to the new nature, the Divine nature, which they will fully receive, if faithful, in the chief resurrection.

What force we thus see is attached to the Master's words, "I go to prepare a place for you." Unless He had thus prepared the way, unless He had become our Surety, we never could have become acceptable in the Father's sight, and the Redeemer's associates on the spirit plane. But there is still another sense in which the Redeemer is preparing for His Church, His followers. He has, as their great High Priest, not only opened up the way to God, but He continues to be their Intercessor and to appropriate to them of His merit to cover their continual trespasses and shortcomings, which are the result, not of wilfulness but of weakness and heredity-shortcomings against which they strive, but by which at times they are overtaken-sins of omission if not of commission.

How precious to every child of God are the words of the Apostle, "If we sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous!" Let us, therefore, come with courage to the Throne of heavenly grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need, for we have an High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, having been tempted in all points [HGL882] like as we of the new creation arc tempted. (1 John 2:1, 2; Heb. 4:15, 16)


There appears to be a disposition on the part of many to deny that there will be a second advent of the Redeemer. They reason that what has not occurred in more than 18 centuries should cease to be expected. They endeavor to find the fulfillment, the promised second coming of the Savior, in the Pentecostal blessing. But this cannot satisfy those who have implicit trust in the Lord, and who believe that the Apostles were his specially appointed mouthpieces, for did not the Apostles, long after Pentecost, tell of the second coming of the Lord, and did not Jesus Himself in the last book of the Bible declare His coming and His marriage to the Church, His acceptance to her and the giving of her a share in His glory?

The erroneous thought that Jesus is still a man and that His second coming will be as a man in glory and power, has done much injury to the Church. It has turned the attention of some to looking for and expecting Messiah's Empire to be purely an earthly one. It has led others to deny the second coming and the Kingdom entirely. The proper view of our Lord's ascension to the glory of the Divine nature and honor next to the Father, never more to return to earthly conditions, lifts us above the difficulties mentioned.

We now see that the One who will come in power and great glory will be a Spirit Being wholly invisible to mankind, but nevertheless the very same Jesus, the same personality, the same Ego who was once amongst men; the same Ego or personality who previously was with the Father on the spirit plane, and who humbled Himself to man's estate in order that He might accomplish a work of redemption for Adam and his race. The Redeemer says of Himself, "I am He who was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore." And He who was dead, was He not the same One who previously was rich and for our sakes became poor? Can we not, therefore, hold clearly to the distinctions of nature, and yet see through the two changes the maintenance of the original personality?


The angels who appeared to the Apostles when the Master vanished from their sight declared that He would come in like manner as He went away. Did He go in a blaze of glory witnessed by the whole world of mankind? No! Neither will He so come. Did He go amid great convulsions and the blast of trumpets? No! Neither will He so come. Was His departure seen and known throughout the world? No! Neither will his arrival be seen and known; as He declared, He will come as a thief in the night and will be present, unknown to the world. Only a few knew of His departure and could tell it to others. In like manner a second coming will be known only to the few, who win declare it to such as have the hearing ear.

Concerning this secret arrival of the Lord, "as a thief in the night," the Apostle declares, "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." (1 Thess. 5:4)

The day of revealment will come, but it will be after the Bride class, the elect Church, is with the Bridegroom, a sharer of His glory, honor and immortality. "When He shall appear, ye also shall appear with Him in glory" (I John 3:2). The revealment will be in flaming fire-a manifestation of righteousness, opposition to all things sinful and approval of all things in harmony with the Golden Rule. This will mean at first a great time of trouble, an overturning and transformation in the world's affairs. As the Prophet declares, "The rich men shall weep bitterly." Many poor ones doubtless will also weep, for unrighteousness is not confined to race or class. All evil-doers will suffer, all well-doers will be blessed.

As soon as this new ruling of Messiah's Kingdom shall come to be thoroughly recognized and appreciated, "the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" (Isa. 26:9). Then the great blessing of Emmanuel's government will kiss away the world's sorrow and tears and death, as a great Sun of Righteousness arising. Messiah's Kingdom will flood the earth with the light of the knowledge of the goodness of God and with His blessing, "which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow therewith." Ignorance, superstition, sin and death will flee away before the light of that New Dispensation, and only those who resist it wilfully will be smitten with the Second Death.


The great Heavenly King and His Bride will rule man's affairs with a rod of iron, which will break in pieces and destroy institutions contrary to the Golden Rule. This power over the nations belongs to the Redeemer and will be shared, as promised, with His Church. But first, before that manifestation of the Kingdom in power and glory and with flaming fire, will come the Master's parousia, or secret presence, unknown to the world-known only to the "watchers" -to the saints, through their understanding of the Divine prophesies, to which their eyes of understanding will be opened.

In the harvest time He will be present to gather the wheat into His garner, through the change of the Chief Resurrection, which will take place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." During this period of parousia, preceding the outward manifestation to the world, the Heavenly Lord, invisible to men, will judge amongst those who have professed to be His servantsdetermining which may enter into the Kingdom and share its glories, and which have been unprofitable servants, who may not share with Him in the Kingdom glory, because they have failed to share with Him in the sacrifice and ignominy of the present time.

This judging of the Church is particularly indicated in two of our Lord's parables relating to the pounds and the talents given to His servants when He took His departure. In His parousia He will reckon with his servants, rewarding the faithful with a share with Him in His Kingdom, saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joys of thy Lord-have thou dominion over two cities, over five cities," etc. (Matt. 25:21; Luke 19:16-18) The garnering of the wheat, the [HGL883] change of the saints, will be the marriage or union with their glorious Head and Bridegroom. Meantime, those purposing to be of the Bride, win make themselves ready and assist each other in preparation for the glorious consummation of their most wonderful hopes.


The Master said, "My word shall judge you in the last day." Happy has it been for the few who have heard the Master's Word in this present life, and have judged themselves thereby, and submitted themselves to His righteous precepts! These blessed ones will share with Messiah the glories of His Spiritual Empire, invisible to men. But during the Thousand-Year-Judgment Day of the world (2 Pet. 3:7, 8) the same words- "the wonderful words of life" to those who will obey and words of death to those who will refuse obedience-will be the standard of justice for all mankind. -Acts 3:21-23.

This judgment of the world will not be merely of those living at the time of the establishment of the Kingdom, but will include all that are in their graves (John 5:28). As all are condemned through one man's disobedience, so the redemption for all will be accomplished through the obedience of One, which will secure to each and all an opportunity for eternal life, either on the spirit plane, during this Gospel Age, or on the earthly plane to Paradise restored, during Messiah's reign.

The judgment of the Church is, not according to works, the perfection of which, under prevailing conditions, would be impossible, hence the Church's judgment is according to faith and the obedience of faith possible. But the world's judgment will be according to works, for the knowledge then will be so great that faith will no longer be at a premium. The great Mediator will accept of imperfect works according to the ability of the people; but, as they rise out of degradation, more and more will be required of them, until in the end they will be perfected and absolute perfection of works will be required.

Then death and the grave will be swallowed up in the antitypical Gehenna of annihilation- "the Second Death" -and all not worthy of record in the Book of Life will be destroyed from amongst the people. -Rev. 20:12-15; Acts 3:22

But, thank God, this irremediable destruction of the Second Death will come only upon willful evil-doers of the class mentioned in this text-often reproved and yet stiffnecked. Some of the Church might be classed in this category because of previous enlightenment, etc., enjoyed, but surely the world in general has not had such reproofs and such an intelligent understanding of the Lord as would make them properly amenable to the Second Death. And God proposes that every member of Adam's race must have this one full, complete privilege and opportunity for eternal life before he can be sentenced to the Second Death.

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