The National Labor Tribune, May 20, 1906


Indianapolis, Ind., May 20 – Pastor C. T. Russell spoke twice here today, his afternoon theme being his anti-infidel discourse, "To Hell and Back. The Bible in Harmony with Reason."

His evening discourse, the sixth in a series on the Resurrection, was from the text, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe with thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. 10:9)

The speaker said: We are living in a day when faith of any definite kind is coming into disrepute. To believe anything definitely and positively is to mark oneself as narrow minded in the estimation of the worldly wise. In the pulpits of Christendom it is growing proper to declare, directly or indirectly, that the essence of Christianity is works and not faith – that a man may believe or disbelieve what he pleases so long as his life is a moral, respectable one, and particularly if he be a regular attendant of worship in one of the popular sects. This, however, is contrary to the proposition laid down in the Scriptures. There we are told that even perfect works would not be acceptable before God without faith. (Heb. 11:6)

We are told also that perfect works are impossible under present conditions, each one of Adam's race being declared to be more or less depraved, mentally, morally and physically. The Scriptures point out that, this being the case, God is not judging his people during this Gospel age according to a rule of works, which would surely condemn all, but is testing them according to a rule of faith, on account of which he imputes to them righteousness, perfection, and requires no more of works than they are able to perform, rewarding them according to their perfect faith and not according to their imperfect works.


Many seem to be perplexed along this line of faith and works, and to get the impression that the writer of the Epistle of James had one view of the matter and the Apostle Paul another. Our thought, however, is that they are both in absolute accord. The Apostle James says, "Show me thy faith without thy works and I will show thee my faith by my works." (Jas. 2:18)

Who does not agree with this, that faith without works is dead, [NS344] and that a dead faith would be valueless? We all agree that our faith should be attested by our works. But we all agree with the Apostle Paul that if God were to judge us according to our very best works he would never bring us into the Kingdom, but would condemn us all as imperfect – as able only to perform imperfect works.

The Apostle, however, points out that with the Lord's people the imperfect works are the result of an imperfect organization traceable to an imperfect heredity; and he tells us that in mercy the Lord, while requiring of us all the works we are able to perform as a testimony to our faith, will, nevertheless, not judge us according to our works of the flesh, which are sure to be imperfect in all, but will judge us according to the degree of our faith, our heart intentions, our efforts. How gracious is this provision, and how it adapts itself to all the various conditions of those who name the name of Christ.

There is no question whatever that some of those who accepted Christ were better born than others, that by nature they inherited better temperaments, were more evenly balanced, more just, more generous than others, though all are blemished and all come far short of the glory of God – far short of that glorious likeness of God, image of God, in which he created our first parents. What comfort it gives us then to know that not only the strongest characters accepting Christ may attain unto everlasting life through faith in him and obedience to the extent of their ability, but that the divine provision also is that the very weakest of characters accepting Christ, exercising faith in him, may be saved with the same abundant salvation although they are weaker according to the flesh than some of their fellows.

The Apostle explains the divine operation of grace, assuring us that where sin abounds grace does that much more abound, so that if we should reckon a hundred points as respecting perfection, and we should see that the very best amongst men have only fifty points of character and have lost fifty through the fall, while others have only twenty-five points of character, having lost seventy-five through the fall, the Apostle's teaching would be that salvation and the attainment of the riches of God's grace are as possible to the one as to the other. Where sin abounded to the extent of fifty points, grace would be needed and would be granted to the extent of fifty points to make good the deficiency; where sin abounded to the extent of twenty-five points of deflection from perfection, grace would abound to the extent of seventy-five points to make good all the blemishes of this one, who had accepted Christ and who to the extent of his ability was seeking to be his disciple, his follower in the narrow way of life.


Many get the impression that God is endeavoring to drive mankind into the narrow way through threats of eternal torment, etc., but surely this is a gross misconception of the divine plan and very contrary to the Scriptural statement. Our Lord in stating the matter did not say that the Father seeketh such to worship him as are moved by fear, by dread. On the contrary he does say, "The Father seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth" – from a heart-appreciation of his glorious character and wonderful plan of salvation through Jesus. Again he says, not that he is seeking to drive all mankind to be his disciples, but the very reverse of this, "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him."

"And he that cometh unto me [drawn of the Father through the truth] I will in no wise reject." John 6:37, 44 Instead of urging everybody to become his disciples and threatening them if they did not, the Master treated the subject in the very opposite style, saying, if any man will be my disciple let him sit down first and count the cost. If any man will be my disciple let him take up his cross and follow me. (Luke 14:28; Matt. 16:24)

Again we notice his own explanation that he taught his disciples in parables and dark sayings, so that others not in a proper condition of heart might not hear, might not understand and might not follow him. Something evidently is wrong with the thoughts of the majority of Christian people when they think that they must let down the bars and coax and cajole and threaten people to bring them to the Lord. The Truth changes not, and hence it must be that error has crept into the theories and practices of those who claim to speak in the name of the Lord contrary to his method and the method of the Apostles. Let us seek for the old paths and follow in the footsteps of the Lord.

Our text is along this line, and sets forth most distinctly that the heathen will not be saved in their ignorance; that unbelievers in Christian lands, though they be regarded as attendants at Church, etc., will not be saved in their unbelief; that it is not only necessary to believe with the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, but it is also necessary to confess the Lord Jesus as the one who died and who rose again, and our faith in the merit of his sacrifices, if we would be saved – reckonedly saved, justified now and actually saved in the resurrection to life, the First Resurrection.


In full harmony with the above limitation of salvation to those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus, etc., and the condemnation of all others at the present time, is a statement found in Mark 16:16, which declares [NS345] that "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

Although this text is in full accord with the point we are pressing, we do not quote it as a proof thereof, but to explain to you that it is no part of the Gospel – that all scholars agree that the last chapter of Mark from verse nine to the end is an interpolation, is no part of what St. Mark wrote, but was added to the Gospel some time about the seventh or ninth century. This is known because the passage is not found in the older Greek manuscripts.

However the words are strictly in accord with the general teachings of the Gospel, namely, that only those who hear about the Lord Jesus and who believe the message respecting his death, resurrection, etc., and who make a consecration of themselves, who are baptized into his death – only these could belong to the class, the little flock, which God is now saving. All the remainder are damned – that is more properly rendered, condemned. The whole world was damned or condemned in Father Adam because of his disobedience, and the world has lain in that condemned condition as respects God for now six thousand years, and the only ones who have escaped that damnation or condemnation which came upon the world through Adam's disobedience are those who have accepted God's favor, mercy and grace through faith, and such during this Gospel age manifest the sincerity of their faith by their obedience to the terms of this great salvation, which God has provided in Jesus.


Note again the terms of our text, and compare its statement with the ordinary sentiments of our time in religious circles. Are we not freely told by the great majority of people that they do not believe that the heathen are lost, which means that they do believe that the heathen are saved. They tell us that they do not think that God would permit them to be lost, etc. We reply that they have no authority for believing or disbelieving according to their own judgments, professions, inclinations.

We reply that their in-harmony with the divine statement on the subject is the result of their false views respecting what is meant by being unsaved, condemned, damned. We point out to them that the world was unsaved for four thousand years before the Savior came, that the world was condemned to death or damned to death or sentenced to death because of Adam's sin. We point out that if God could permit the world to be thus sentenced or condemned for four thousand years before he sent the Savior at all, it would be no less wise for the divine Creator to permit them to remain in an unsaved condition for now nearly two thousand years since Christ died.

The difficulty lies in the unscriptural thought that to be unsaved is to be in eternal torment. According to the Bible to be unsaved is to be out of harmony with God, to be outside the pale of his favor, blessing, holy Spirit, etc., to remain under sentence of death, and alienation from him. Undoubtedly the heathen are lost, unsaved in the Scriptural sense – "Having no hope, without God in the world." (Eph. 2:12)

It is not sufficient that they should worship the sun or Brahma or Buddha, nor that they should worship idols. This is not the worship of God – it is not acceptable to God; faith in those errors is not a ground for salvation, nor would any of them be saved by their good works. We must take the Scriptural proposition – we must speak to the people and declare that they can not be saved except by faith in Christ; that they must believe in their hearts that God raised him from the dead, which means also that they must believe in their hearts that Jesus is the Son of God, that he came into the world and was made flesh and died for our sins, and that God raised him from the dead to be our Deliverer. More than this, the terms are that they must with their mouths confess Jesus to be their Lord, the Master.


We wish to show, dear friends, that God has shut up the whole way of salvation, that there is no other door into it than the one door of faith. To those who think that this is a narrow way we answer, "Yes! thus the Lord described it," but we point them to the fact that the narrow way will end with the end of this Gospel age. That the Lord appointed the narrowness of the present way for the very purpose of separation amongst men, and gathering through the narrow way to himself merely a little flock, the Bride of Christ, to be his joint-heirs in the Kingdom. Beyond this narrow way, with its limitations of faith and confession – beyond this Gospel age, with its darkness covering the civilized and its gross darkness covering the heathen, lies the new dispensation, the Millennial age, the glorious Kingdom of God, for which the Master directed us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." [Matt. 6:10]

In that new dispensation there will be a demonstration so plain, so clear, respecting God's character and plan, manifesting the fact of Christ's death and resurrection and the salvation secured thereby, that a wayfaring man though a fool, need not err therein. Instead of the darkness of the present time, which needs the Word of God as a lamp to our footsteps, there will be the glorious rising of the Sun of righteousness, and the corresponding healing in its beams for all the maladies [NS346] which sin and condemnation have brought upon the world of mankind. The damned or condemned condition of the world will then terminate, all will be brought to an accurate knowledge of the truth that they might be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), and only the willfully perverse rejecters of the Kingdom will come again under the sentence, the curse of God, and again be damned or condemned to the Second Death (not eternal torment), from which there is to be no redemption, no resurrection, no recovery in any sense or degree. It signifies a destruction which will be perpetual, a punishment of destruction, of extinction, which will be everlasting.


The question arises, Why does the Lord lay the stress in our text, the whole stress, upon faith in the resurrection? Surely there are other things to be believed. Why does he single out this one thing as though it were the all-important? Why does he not rather say faith in the coming Kingdom, or faith in the death of Christ, or faith in the love and justice and wisdom and power of God? There is a reason which we will show.

The Jews believed in a coming Kingdom of Christ which would bless the world. They had been believing this for over sixteen centuries, and their faith had been fanned by the types of the Law and by the various declarations of the prophets, and was still further encouraged by our Lord Jesus' own teachings that the Kingdom of heaven was at hand. All sorts of people believe in a coming Kingdom, doubtless first of all taking the thought from the promises made to Israel. We find that the Chaldeans hoped for a universal empire and tried to establish one, Nebuchadnezzar being the first universal monarch.

The Medes and Persians overthrew Nebuchadnezzar and assumed to take his seat of universal empire, claiming that they could rule the world to its advantage. In turn Greece under Alexander the Great sought this distinction of world empire, to establish a kingdom for the blessing of all mankind. Following them came the Romans, whose empire reached further than any other, and was universal in the largest sense. Next came the Papacy, with its claim that the kingdom should be a spiritual one, and that the popes should be the head of all earthly kingdoms – a claim which they still maintain, holding that the popes of the past reigned as vicegerents of Christ, that the popes of modern times have been deprived of their proper dignity and authority. And now we have Socialists on every hand claiming that the Kingdom of God is about to be established by them, that Socialism will accomplish all the wonderful things hoped for by the race for six thousand years.

Meantime Christians have believed the testimony of the Law and the prophets, of Jesus and the apostles, that the God of heaven will in his due time send Jesus a second time to establish the Kingdom of the heavens, to break in pieces and destroy all opposition and government, to establish righteousness upon a firm basis. With all these various and conflicting thoughts respecting a coming Kingdom to bless the world, it is easily seen that this would not have been a proper test respecting Christian faith. Indeed many who are far from being the Lord's people would be ready to call the reign of Socialism the reign of Messiah. None could deny the death of Christ.

The Jews even admitted that he had been crucified. Besides, death is common to the world of mankind, and none would have thought of disputing the death of anybody. Hence we say that the resurrection of Jesus was one peculiarly unique – a subject upon which the followers of Christ differed from all other people in the world. They claimed that he had died indeed as a sinner, but that he was not a sinner; that his death had been purposed of God, foretold through the prophets, and with the intention of being the ransom or corresponding price for Father Adam, upon whom the original sentence of death fell, and that by the redemption of Father Adam the redemption of the entire race of Adam was effected, because all had died under his sentence by heredity. The claim of the early Church was that the resurrection of Christ was the divine demonstration that he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and not personally worthy of death, that the Father loved him and raised him from the dead a New Creature, permitting his human nature to constitute a redemption of Adam. The Father had raised him up a quickening spirit, a Life-Giver, a spirit being, thus restoring him to the spirit nature which he had before he became a man, before he became our Redeemer. Thus the whole of Christianity rests upon this doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus.


Those who acknowledge the resurrection of Jesus from the dead must logically acknowledge that he was dead; they must also acknowledge that personally he was unworthy of death, else the Father could not have raised him from the dead. This implies, then, that his death was not on his own account; that he was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, and corroborates the Scriptural teaching that Christ died for our sins, that he poured out his soul unto death and made his soul an offering for sin on behalf of humanity. (1 Cor. 15:3; Isa. 53:10, 12)

This implies that humanity was under a sentence of death; this in turn corroborates the statement of Genesis, that Adam had transgressed [NS347] the divine law, and had thus come under the death sentence. Thus we see that faith in the resurrection signifies a faith in the entire plan of God as it is set forth in the Bible. No wonder, then, that the Apostle speaks of this as the very touchstone of our faith "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe with thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" – otherwise thou art unsaved, in the gall of bitterness and the bondage of corruption, still under the condemnation of sin and death. The context bears this out: The Apostle is writing to those who had been trained, according to the Jewish religion, to look for salvation to works of the Law – to the keeping of the divine requirements as represented in the ten commandments, etc. He says that Moses describes that kind of righteousness that comes by the Law, that the man which does the things of the Law shall live thereby (v. 5).

But, says the Apostle, the justification which God is now proposing or offering is not obtainable through the Law, nor obtainable merely by the Jews who were under that Law Covenant, but is by Faith, and is open to all who can exercise the faith, whether Jews or Gentiles. He tells us that the language of faith is not that which inquires, "How could any one ascend up to heaven and induce the Son of God to come down to be the Savior?" nor does the language of faith say, "How could anyone descend into the deep, into death, to bring Christ up from the dead?" But how does it speak? "Ah!" says the Apostle, "you who are Christians know the language of faith."

It is in your mouths and in your hearts continually; it is the message which we have been preaching – that is the language of faith. This faith accepts the fact that God was moved with compassion and sent his Son, and that Jesus was that Son of God. The language of faith preached by the Apostle declared that the death of Christ was a sacrificial one for the sins of the world, and the language of faith also declares that God by his own power raised Jesus from the dead, and that he is no longer dead – that he rose and ascended on high. This is what we preach, then, what the Apostle preached; this is that which is to be confessed with the mouth, that Jesus is the Lord. And to thus confess truly, sincerely, it must be believed in the heart that God did raise him from the dead, and this would imply all the co-related features of truth respecting the sin of Adam, the condemnation of Adam and his race, the redemptive work of Jesus and the coming work of rolling away the curse. The Apostle explains, "With the heart man believes unto righteousness (justification); and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation," because the Scripture saith, "whosoever believeth on him must not be ashamed of him." (Rom. 10:11)

This is the correct translation and approves itself. He that is ashamed of Jesus and his Word and the general plan of salvation so that he refuses to confess the truth is not worthy of the truth, is not in a saved condition. Those who now believe and who now confess are now reckonedly saved, and theirs is to be a special salvation, the salvation of the Elect, the salvation of the "little flock" – the only salvation that is open or offered at all during this Gospel age. But as we have shown heretofore and as we may show again, there is another salvation of an earthly kind which belongs to the Millennial age, the terms and conditions of which will in some respects be the same as now but very different in other respects.

Faith and obedience will be required then, also but the greater light and knowledge, the binding of Satan and the letting loose of all the principles of righteousness, will make the conditions of salvation then in many respects quite different from the very limited conditions of the narrow way of this present time, which the Scriptures declare few find and which we know still fewer are willing to walk in. Let us, dearly beloved – who have accepted Christ, who have fled away from sin, who have laid hold upon Jesus by faith as the Redeemer – let us continue to believe and continue to confess the Way, the Truth and the Life, and then hope by his grace to share with him the glories of his Kingdom, which shall enlighten and bless all the families of the earth.

May 26, 1906 Republished from The National Labor Tribune, June 6, 1918


A large congregation heard Pastor Russell yesterday afternoon at Carnegie Hall, Allegheny. His theme was the significations of Pentecost in connection with present and future blessings. His text was, "And also upon the servants and the handmaidens in those days will I pour out my Spirit." (Joel 2:29; Acts 2:18)

The speaker said: To-day is approximately the anniversary of the day of Pentecost, one of the most notable epochs of history. It was the beginning of the Church's history in [NS348] an important sense. True, our Lord Jesus Himself was the Head of the Church and had already completed His sacrifice and passed into glory, and during His ministry He had gathered about 500 trusting followers who had consecrated to Him and His service their all. He had assured these of their acceptance of the Father through Him, but told them to tarry before beginning the ministry of this Gospel age until they would be endued with power from on high.

It was this blessing of the holy Spirit from on high which came to them at Pentecost, assuring them of divine acceptance and qualifying them for the divine service. True, the Apostles and also the 70 sent out later were granted miraculous powers, by which they healed the sick, cast out devils, etc.; but in doing these works they were merely the representatives of Jesus, using the power of the holy Spirit granted to Him, and delegated to them.

The blessing of the holy Spirit which they received at Pentecost, while it was from the Son, was granted them as an evidence that Jesus' sacrifice had been sufficient and had been appropriated to them so that on and after Pentecost they had direct dealings with the Father and were recognized, accordingly, as no longer sinners, but as the servants and handmaidens of Jehovah – brought nigh, reconciled by the merit of Jesus' sacrifice, appropriated on their behalf when He ascended up on high, "there to appear in the presence of God for us" – for believers. [Heb. 9:24]


Let it be clearly noticed that the holy Spirit imparted to the Church on the day of Pentecost has been with the Church from then until now, bas been upon the servants and handmaidens only, not upon the world in general. This is an important point, to which the Apostle Peter calls attention. He identified what took place in the upper room amongst the servants and handmaidens of the Lord as being a part of that which had previously been foretold by the Prophet Joel, referred to in our text. However, a critical examination of the prophet's declaration shows that our text is merely a parenthetic statement. The prophet tells of the general blessings of God which is yet to come upon all flesh – "I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh." [Joel 2:28]

He points down to the end of this present evil world and the reign of sin and death – points down to the beginning of the millennial day of Christ, the thousand years of times of restitution, and declares that then God's spirit will be poured upon all flesh, so that the young men, the men of that time, will see with clearness of vision what the ancients saw obscurely as in a dream. The law and the prophets, from Genesis down to Jesus, had foretold the coming blessing and release from the curse, when there would be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, when God would wipe tears from off all faces and cause the rebuke of his people to cease. (Isa. 25:8)

Joel points down to that time and explains that the glorious transformation in the world's affairs will signify the removal of the curse, and, instead the pouring out of a blessing from the Almighty upon all flesh, granting all a realization of the things which had been previously told in visions, in dreams, in types, in figures and in dark sayings, and had been kept a mystery until the time for the revealing of the mystery of God and the full showing of all His gracious purposes toward the children of men, justly, legally, secured to Adam and his race through the second Adam.

After narrating the events due in the new dispensation, the pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh, the Lord would grant a special blessing upon His servants and handmaidens. How true to the facts is this statement! No general outpouring upon all flesh has yet occurred because we are still in this time of evil, because Satan is not yet bound, because the morning of the new dispensation is not yet ushered in. The fact that we can see how the servants and handmaidens are now the recipients of divine favor in this time of evil should be a guarantee to us of the coming blessings and outpouring of the same God, under the same promise and secured by the same great sacrifice, "upon all flesh."


Here we are reminded of the Lord's declaration through another prophet that in the end of this age, after the election of Spiritual Israel, (Rom. 11:25-32)

divine favor will return to Natural Israel. We are told how it will return – that they will be saved from their blindness, which has been upon them for more than eighteen centuries. The Lord also tells us through the prophet how this blindness will be turned away, saying: "I will pour upon them the spirit of prayer and of supplication, and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced and mourn." (Zech. 12:10)

Be it noticed that this is separate and distinct from the Pentecostal blessing poured upon the servants and handmaidens because they believed. This outpouring upon Natural Israel will be while they are still unbelieving, and will have the effect of bringing them to a recognition of Him, who, as the "Lamb of God, taketh away the sin of the world." [John 1:29]

In this matter of receiving the outpouring of God's holy Spirit, the Jews will not be an exception to the remainder of the world, but merely a first-fruits of the world, for the same spirit of God, will be poured upon "all flesh," as God [NS349] assures us through Joel. We are not to understand that this general outpouring of the holy Spirit upon Israel after the flesh and upon all the world of mankind, "all flesh," will mean their everlasting salvation. By no means. The Spirit of the Lord will then guide all through various agencies to an accurate knowledge of the truth, just as the holy Spirit now guides the servants and the handmaidens in this darker time of the gospel age, using the Lamp of Truth, the Word of God, for our instruction and guidance. The lamp will not be necessary to the world in the new dispensation, because "there shall be no night there." (Rev. 21:25)

The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his beams, and all the night of darkness and sin and ignorance and superstition will flee away. And it will be in connection with that Light of Truth that "all flesh" shall receive a baptism of light and truth and grace. Then, as another prophet has declared, "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." (Isa. 40:5)

How glorious the picture here brought to our attention! How strange that good, kind, loving hearts among the Lord's people fail to respond to these grand declarations of the holy Spirit, which now are intended for the comfort and instruction and edification of the servants and handmaidens. Evidently the god of this world has done a great work of blinding the minds of many – not only with the gross darkness which is upon the heathen, but with the lesser darkness which rests upon Christendom. O, that man could see the glorious character of God and the wonderful beauty of the divine plan under which the servants and hand-maidens now are blessed with the spiritual outpouring, and under which eventually a blessing of enlightenment shall reach "all flesh."

We rejoice that the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shall yet fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep. Isa. 11:9


Various false conceptions of God have resulted from this erroneous teaching that the holy Spirit is the third person of the God-head, as the catechism declares, but which the inspired Scriptures nowhere declare. It is this misimpression about God which gives foundation to various false theories prevalent to-day among Theosophists, Christian Scientists and others – that God is really a great nothing, merely a principle of good; that if you find a stick of wood that is good for anything, it means God is in the stick of wood. Pantheism is the name of this thought as applied in its grossest forms, namely, that God is everywhere and in everything.

No such misleading, false view of God is to be obtained from the Bible. Everywhere He is represented as a person, and the Lord Jesus as another person, but fully in accord or oneness of spirit, disposition, purpose, will, with the Father, and that the holy Spirit is the spirit of righteousness, truth, holiness, which proceeds from the Father, proceeds from the Son, and that operates anywhere, everywhere, under the divine direction, being all powerful and omnipresent.

If God willed, His Spirit could now be poured out with enlightening influence upon the whole world, but He does not so will and hence this is not the case. He reserves that work for the future, when He promises that the holy Spirit, His holy influence, enlightening and uplifting, shall be poured upon all flesh. He does now pour out His Spirit, His influence, His power, upon His servants and handmaidens, the consecrated ones, and by this power the Lord works in these and for their advantage in all of life's interests and affairs. They are not to pray to the holy Spirit, but to the Father and to the Son, and in the name of the Son, on account of His merit. They are to come to the throne of heavenly grace in the strength of His atoning sacrifice finished at Calvary. They are to claim relationship with the Father and hopes of the glory, honor and immortality through Him who bought them with His precious blood.

While Jesus has been absent from His church throughout this gospel age both the Father and the Son have been represented in the church by the holy Spirit, the spirit of the truth. And the Lord has so ordered that in proportion as any become truly His they may have more and more of His spirit, disposition, dwelling in them richly. Hence the apostle urges that we be filled with the spirit – the spirit of Christ, the spirit of the Father, the spirit of love, of gentleness, meekness, patience, etc. The more full we are of this spirit or character of Christ, the more are we copies of God's dear Son, and the better are we prepared for the glory, honor and immortality which the Lord has promised to them that love Him, and who accept and avail themselves of the privilege and blessing of the holy Spirit, now granted to all consecrated believers – servants and handmaidens.


We cannot here now take time to discuss this question of the holy Spirit in detail. We cannot take up all the texts which, by translation and misinterpretation, have served to confuse the Lord's people for 15 centuries. We must proceed with our subject, but meantime we suggest to the interested that we have this entire matter in print in the fifth volume of the Millennial Dawn series, and these are sold by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society at actual cost, [NS350] or loaned freely to those unable to purchase. We note the effects of the outpouring of the holy Spirit upon the disciples. Tongues like unto fire seemed to rest upon their heads and they spoke with other tongues – that is, in languages other than the one of their birth. They understood that the time had come for the delivery of the great message which the Master had left for them, the Gospel message, and they began forthwith to tell the good tidings, not only of the death of Jesus and the redemption secured thereby, but also of His resurrection from the dead and ascension on high, and that the proof of their acceptance of the Father was in this demonstration of the holy Spirit and anointing. They preached the gathering of Spiritual Israelites to be joint-heirs with the Lord in His kingdom, that was by and by to bless the whole world during the times of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)

As they were thus talking the people were astonished, and the peculiarities of the affair spread from mouth to mouth until a great concourse of people from all over Jerusalem was gathered about them. The peculiarity was that Jews from all parts of the world were still in Jerusalem, where they had been attending the Passover, the more devoted staying longer than the majority, and these all heard the languages of the country in which they were born – Medes, Parthians, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia and in Judea – in the different dialects, accents, etc., and they queried how these men whom they recognized as unlearned Galileans – how they could speak in these languages.

Others, not comprehending fully the situation, concluded that the languages they did not understand were mere gibberish and declared that the men were drunk. Then it was that the Apostle Peter explained the situation to the multitude – the death of Jesus, the Passover Lamb; His resurrection on the third day, which corresponded to the waving of the wave sheaf, and His ascension at the end of 40 days to the Father's presence; and that this manifestation of a miraculous power in their speech was a gift from heaven, indicating that their sins were cancelled, that they were accepted of God as members of the body of Christ, Spiritual Israel, etc.


Let us bear in mind this lesson from the type: that we have no standing or acceptance or purity of our own, that we are reckoned pure and acceptable to the Father through the merit of our Redeemer, that by his stripes we are healed, that through him we are accepted in the Beloved" and not of ourselves, and let us realize the necessity for the fiery trials which shall try us, that every element of the spirit of leaven, of corruption, of sin may be destroyed so far as our heart intentions are concerned, and that we may be more and more conformed to the likeness of God's dear Son." (Eph. 1:6; 1 Pet. 4:12; Rom. 8:29)

The miraculous gift of tongues, miracles, etc., granted to the apostles and early Church, were very necessary at the time, but were not long continued – nor ever intended to be. Those signs were for the convincing of the world and for the establishing of the faith of the Church; but the real proposition of the Lord was that the acceptance of his people and the begetting of His Spirit, disposition should work in them transformation of character, and grow in their hearts and conduct the fruits and graces of the Spirit. As these fruits of the Spirit began to grow the outward gifts began to depreciate in value. Seeing this we are not surprised that the Apostle said, in so many words: "Whether there be tongues they shall cease; whether there be knowledge it shall pass away." (1 Cor. 13:18)

Serving their purpose they shall be discontinued. They belong to the kindergarten stage of the school of Christ and the Lord's people are expected to go on from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge and from the gifts of the Spirit to the fruits of the Spirit. Let none then think that because they do not work miracles that they necessarily lack the evidences that they are begotten of the holy Spirit.

On the contrary, let them look for the fruits of the Spirit in their hearts, in their lives – meekness, gentleness, patience, long suffering, brotherly kindness, love. "If these things be in you and abound they shall make you that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ . . . And so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Pet. 1:8, 11)


In harmony with this note the Apostle's declaration when he contrasts the gifts of the Spirit belonging to the kindergarten stage of the school of Christ and the fruits of the Spirit belonging to the further developed stage of the school of Christ, he says, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not love, I become as sounding brass or tinkling cymbal." (1 Cor. 13:1)

The intimation here clearly is that some of those who received the gifts of the Spirit were the merest babes as respects their development in the spirit of Christ and we have illustrations of some of these who were merely sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. Ananias and Sapphira were among these. We know not what gift of the Spirit they had as an evidence that they were of the Lord's people, but we do have the [NS351] Apostle's assurance that some gift was given to every one in the Church at the time; yet Ananias and Sapphira lacked the essence of the matter and demonstrated that they were merely sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. Dear brethren and sisters, let us recognize the great blessing which came to the Church as a whole on the day of Pentecost; let us recognize that we individually and collectively were represented in those two wave loaves of the fiftieth day; let us see to it that all of the leaven of malice, envy, strife and works of the flesh and the Devil are consumed as respects our hearts, that we are purified from these and that instead we are filled with the Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit of love, gentleness, meekness, patience, brotherly kindness. Let us remember that these fruits of the Spirit are not instantaneous as were the gifts, but are to be developed, and that not without effort, painstaking care day by day, hour by hour.

We are to be changed from glory to glory, to greater and greater likeness to our dear Redeemer, in whose perfect image we hope to be in the glorious final change in the First Resurrection, when we shall see Him as He is, share His Glory, be like Him, participants in His Glory, honor and immortality. "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure." (1 John 3:3)

May 27, 1906 Republished from The National Labor Tribune, May 30, 1918


HUNTINGDON, Pa., May 27, 1906 – Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny, Pa., preached twice here today, to large and intelligent audiences. His afternoon discourse was his anti-infidel sermon, "To Hell and Back," demonstrating the reasonableness and truthfulness of the Bible.

His evening discourse, which we report, was from the text, "The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." (Rev. 20:5)

He said: Many have taken our text and its context to signify that at the second coming of Christ the First Resurrection will take place, including the change of the living members of the Church, but none others; and that the work of the Millennial age will progress with the living nations of that time, bringing them all to a knowledge of the divine character and plan, and giving them all an opportunity to be reconciled to God through the death of his Son; but forbidding the thought that any of the dead except those of the First Resurrection class, the Church, will come forth during the Millennial age to share in its blessing, opportunities and privileges.

This text is the ground for the belief of many Adventists and pre-Millennialists that at the close of the Millennial age the wicked and ignorant dead, not of the Church, will be merely awakened to receive their sentence and to be remanded again to the prison-house of death – some claiming a prison-house of eternal torment. This thought is entirely astray – entirely out of harmony also with the teachi4g of this text and its context. As we keep closely to the Scriptural statements they will lead us out of the fog into the clear light, beauty and harmony of the divine revelation.


The whole tenor of the Scripture is that God purposed a salvation for Adam and his race as a whole, and not for merely an elect portion of it. True, there are some special promises and a special salvation offered to the "very elect," who will make their calling and election sure by so running in the race for the prize as to receive the "Well done, good and faithful servant," and the glory, honor and immortality reward. But this blessing to the Elect, so far from hindering the general purpose of the divine plan to bless all the families of the earth, is merely an incidental feature of it, for the Elect, the Scriptures declare, are to be God's agents and instrumentalities in communicating the blessing to all the nations in due time.

Only an elect class of the line of Abraham and Israel were specially favored and blessed up to the beginning of this Gospel age; and only an elect class have been specially favored of God in the light of divine truth during this Gospel age. These favored ones were, we are told, drawn of the Father, blessed by the Son, and received an opening of the eyes of their understanding as a special favor, while the remainder of the race were passed by and not thus favored, and are still in measurable darkness, as the Apostle declares, "The god of this world hath blinded the eyes of them that believe not." (2 Cor. 4:4)

Up to this time, therefore, only elected ones have been favored; and thus it will be at the second coming of [NS352] Christ, for we are told that he shall come and gather together his Elect from the four winds of heaven. Mark 13:27 So then, these things being true, it follows that if only those alive in the world at the second coming of Christ shall be blessed by his Millennial reign, it will mean partiality with God, not only as respects the high calling and special privileges granted to the elect, but partiality shown amongst the non-elect – that the vast majority of our race for the past 6000 years has been permitted to die in blindness, in deafness, in ignorance of the only name given under heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved, and that those living in this seventh thousand period would have all these blessings and favors denied to the others.

Is it reasonable to expect this? Should we not expect that our God, who declares himself to be no respecter of persons, would treat the world in general alike, even though he has favored for special reasons elect classes for a time? Would not such a termination of God's plan of salvation be a virtual abrogation of his promises clearly set before us in the Scriptures? And can we think that God would permit his promises to fail? Let us examine some of them.


Going back to the earliest indications of the divine plan, we find it vaguely stated that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head – implying that this victory over Satan will mean a blessing to all of Adam's race. The Scriptures show us more particularly how this will be fulfilled, that this seed of the woman is primarily Jesus, who became partaker of human nature, who was born of a woman. But it means more – it includes the Elect, the body of Christ, the Church, as the Apostle explains (Rom. 16:20), "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."

The second great statement of the divine purpose respecting our race was made to Abraham saying, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." [Gen. 22:18]

This seed the Apostle tells us was primarily Jesus, and in a secondary, larger sense it includes all of the elect Church, the body of Christ, the Apostle's declaration being, "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29)

Does not this promise tell not only who the seed is, but tell also that the work of the seed shall be to bless all the families of the earth? And will God pass by this plain statement, to which he not only gave his word but also his oath, and will he only bless those members of the human family fortunate enough to be living at the time of the second advent – during the Millennial age? We think not. We will yet show that the plan is deeper and broader.

In the Law and in the Prophets the Lord taught the same lesson of the blessing of all the people. Moses was the type of the very Elect, Head and body, and all Israel represented the whole world of mankind as they, under the New Covenant, will be brought into relationship with God, and this is the statement of the Apostle Peter, "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you from amongst your brethren, like unto me (Moses). Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people." Acts 3:22, 23

In this picture in which all who will hear the voice of God through his Elect, the Church, are indicated as having an opportunity to hear, only the willfully disobedient being destroyed in the Second Death. Our Lord, speaking on the subject of his mission, declares that he came to seek and to save that which was lost. Adam and all of his race were lost and our Lord's mission is not merely for an elect class, but in conjunction with that election he is to give the opportunity of life everlasting to every man, as he declared, "This is the true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (John 1:9)

And again he declares that he gave himself a ransom for all, and the Apostle assures us that in due time this will be testified to all. (1 Tim. 2:6)

This is the message which the angels sang when they announced the Redeemer's birth, "We bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people" – not merely to those people living during the Millennium, but unto all people. Luke 2:10

In our Lord's last message to the Church he pictures the time described by the Prophet, when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, and none shall need say to his neighbor, Know thou the Lord – when all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped. The declaration is, "All nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy righteous acts are made manifest." (Rev. 15:4)

This is not to be understood to mean the representatives of all nations living before the Millennium, but every nation, people, kindred and tongue for whom Christ died, many of which nations, kindreds, peoples have already passed into the oblivion of death, but are, nevertheless, in God's providence, to have a share in the blessings accruing to the world through the great Redeemer's sacrifice. Let us trust in the living God and in his Word to be its own interpreter, and our text will be found to be in full accord with all of its gracious provisions.


Coming directly to our text, "The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." [NS353] How can this text be understood in harmony with the remainder of the Scriptures? In what way can it be understood that will not bring it into conflict with God's gracious promises, which can not be broken – in conflict with his oath that all the families of the earth shall be blessed through Christ? We answer that the matter is very simple: we must adhere closely to the Scriptural definition of what life is. The Bible tells us that from the divine standpoint the whole world is dead today – all except the comparatively few who have accepted Christ, the Life-Giver. Our Lord's words apply to the young man who believed on him; he said, "Let the dead bury their dead." Matt. 8:22

It is the same thought; the whole world from God's standpoint is dead, only believers in Christ have passed from death unto life. The death sentence has been upon the world for 6000 years. We who are reckoned as already alive have escaped the condemnation, the sentence of death which is on the world. The Lord recognizes faithful believers as having life now, and assures such that it is his will that they should have a share in the life resurrection, which is for the good, the faithful, the justified, those who abide in his love. The remainder of the world who do not have a share in the life resurrection are still under sentence of death at the opening of the Millennium. To illustrate: Suppose that the Millennium began this very day, and that the world's population aside from the saints, the Elect, is in round numbers 1,600,000,000.

That vast multitude are all still dead from God's standpoint, and will remain so throughout the Millennial age. That is to say, justification by faith, which operates in the Elect and by which we are already reckoned as having passed from death to life, will not so operate during the Millennial age. Instead of the world's being justified to relationship to God at the beginning of the Millennial age, they will be placed in their fallen and dead condition in the hands of Christ, the Life-Giver.

During that thousand years of Christ's Millennial Kingdom it will be his special work, in conjunction with his Bride, the Church, to uplift the world, raising them up out of the present sin-and-death conditions, physically, mentally and morally, and this work of restitution to the original human likeness of God, lost by father Adam and redeemed by Christ, will be possible of attainment during the Millennial age by the uplifting process. That uplifting process, bringing the obedient of mankind back to original perfection, is the resurrection, the anastasis everywhere spoken of in the New Testament.

In other words, the word resurrection does not signify merely an awakening from the sleep of death, but it applies especially to that raising up which will be accomplished for the world after they are awakened during the Millennium. We have spoken especially of the living-dead, those under death sentence and treated by God as dead in trespasses and sins, but who have not gone to the tomb. If it requires the entire thousand years to raise them up and to give them life, the same will be true of all those who are in their graves, who shall hear the voice of the Son of man and shall come forth unto the judgment resurrection. (John 5:29)

Their awakening will not be their resurrection, but merely their coming forth unto resurrection. The resurrection raising up, uplifting of the race, during the Millennial age will be a raising out of death conditions up toward perfect life conditions. And not until the close of the Millennial age will the dead be thus completely lifted up out of their old conditions and brought into full relationship with the Heavenly Father "whom to know is life eternal." John 17:3

During the entire thousand years of their resurrection, the raising up, uplifting, under the blessed influence of the Kingdom of Christ – Satan being bound and all the blessed influences of righteousness being let loose, the blindness of Satan being taken away and the glorious light of the knowledge of God coming more and more into the hearts of mankind – will prepare the willing and obedient – for the grand consummation by the end of the thousand years, the end of the Millennium. Meantime the unwilling, the disobedient, will be cut off in the Second death, the death punishment everlasting will be visited upon them, they will have no hope of a future resuscitation.

At the close of the thousand years, when Christ shall present all the worthy of the race to the Father – physically, mentally and morally perfect – then and not until then will they be accorded direct divine recognition and the gift of God, eternal life. Consequently, not until that time will the dead live again in the proper, true sense of the word – living as God has recognized it from the beginning of his dealings with our race. Adam was a dead man from God's standpoint from the moment he came under the curse and was driven out of Eden under the sentence, "Dying thou shalt die." [Gen. 2:17]

And not until Adam and his race have been uplifted out of sin-and-death conditions and brought back again into accord with the Father can they be said to live again. Thus, while the resurrection of Jesus occurred at the beginning of the Gospel age, and the resurrection of the Church, the faithful ones of the household of faith, will take place at the beginning of the Millennial age, the raising of the world out of sin-and-death conditions to the perfection of life – this resurrection of the rest of the dead will not be complete and they will not live again until the thousand years shall be finished. [NS354]


From this divine standpoint, those of the world said from the human standpoint to be living – and those of the world said from the human standpoint to be dead – will all be dead at the beginning of the Millennium and in the hands of the Mediator, the Christ, for the very purpose of raising them out of their sin-and-death conditions. Doubtless the work of enlightenment and restitution will begin with those who have not gone into the tomb; doubtless the darkest places of the world will be enlightened with the Sun of Righteousness before those who have gone down into the great prisonhouse of death shall be called forth. Nor are we to expect that they will all be called forth at once, but gradually, as the world will be prepared for their reception.

As increased inventions and blessings shall prevail, and the earth yield her increase, conditions will be favorable for the proper care of those returning from the tomb. Doubtless, too, their return will be in such a manner as will identify them with those of their kindred who had not gone into the tomb. To illustrate: the favored ones of the beginning of the Millennium would in due time come to understand that all that are in their graves are to be restored, and doubtless this will be accomplished along lines which will develop faith. Prayer will be made for the return from the tomb of a beloved father or mother or brother or sister, these in turn praying for others as prepared to receive and assist them, and thus the gathering from the tomb will proceed backwards, so that Adam probably would be one of the last to be awakened to come forth to be identified by his children as they were identified by the children all the way back.

Our Lord calls this the judgment resurrection, because opportunities of resurrection, of raising up out of sin-and-death conditions, will not only be open to all of Adam's race, but, additionally, the Kingdom conditions will be such as to force them to a decision either to go onward and upward in accordance with the laws of the Kingdom then in force, or, refusing so to do, to receive stripes and chastisements and eventually be destroyed in the Second Death. Of that time we read in prophecy, "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." (Isa. 26:9)

The judgments of the Lord have not been abroad in the earth for the past six thousand years. On the contrary, sin and death have reigned, the righteous have suffered, evildoers have prospered. The judgments of the Lord signify the Lord's rulings, the Lord's decisions, the Lord's rewards and punishments. During the Millennial age these will be abroad everywhere throughout the world; all then seeking to serve righteousness will be rewarded and will more and more come to appreciate it, and all who love unrighteousness will be chastened with stripes and punishments that they may learn the Truth from the divine standpoint – to love righteousness and hate iniquity.

If after having had the full light and knowledge and opportunity, they sin wilfully, the judgment of the Lord is that they share in the Second Death. As the punishments of that time will eventuate to this class in the Second Death, the rewards of that time will eventuate to the other class, the faithful and obedient, in everlasting life; but it can not be reached until the close of the Millennium – until Jesus shall present his complete work to the Father, and the Mediatorial Kingdom undertaken for the purpose of putting down sin and re-establishing righteousness in the earth will have been completed. When he shall have put down all insubordination, all enemies against God, then shall the Son also be subject to the Father who did put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 1 Cor. 15:27, 28


In the Old Testament the word resurrection is referred to as a "coming forth unto shame and lasting contempt" (Dan. 12:2) – not everlasting contempt, as in our common version, for the Hebrew word does not signify everlasting, but merely lasting – to a completion. We can readily see how the blessings of the Millennial age, the enlightenment, the opening of the eyes and ears of understanding, will make a new world, especially as the Lord assures us that the sinful conditions also shall be brought into accord with the best interests of the human family. No longer will storms and cyclones, earthquakes and volcanoes and tidal waves do injury, but peace shall be promoted in the elements as well as amongst men. In a word, Paradise is to be restored.

When, therefore, those who have fallen asleep in death shall come forth to the new conditions and clearer light and knowledge, we can well imagine how, their history being known, it will indeed be a coming forth to shame and contempt. Imagine poor Nero as a sample of the worst men; imagine the poor Sodomites, although the Lord declares that they were not nearly so evil in his sight as were some of the self-righteous Pharisees of Bethsaida and Chorazin, who made long prayers and had a form of godliness. The coming forth of these to shame in the light of the new conditions will be painful, humiliating to them, and the majority of them surely will be in contempt amongst their fellows. To these the laws of the Kingdom will seem very rigorous, and the highway of holiness then to be opened up will at first appear quite steep. However, all the conditions will be favorable, [NS355] Satan bound, righteousness and truth and love prevailing. The willing and obedient of them will soon begin to make progress up, up, up, out of sin and out of death conditions, mental, moral and physical, and in proportion as they rise, in the same proportion will their shame depart, and in the same proportion will the contempt of their fellows in the world give place to feelings of sympathy and admiration. We rejoice that under the glorious conditions of the Millennial Kingdom every member of Adam's race will have a full and fair opportunity to get free from the bitter results of sin and to get back into the image and likeness of God.


Having shown that our text is in full accord with all of the gracious promises of God's Word we now call attention to the fact that the text is spurious. That is to say, the words of our text are not found in any of the oldest Greek manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. It is not found in any manuscripts older than the seventh century, and quite probably crept into it, not of intention, but as a marginal comment by some copyist.

For it will be remembered that in olden times there was no such thing as printing – the copies of the Scriptures were probably made by pen. Leaving out the words of our text the remainder reads more smoothly than with them in, and this has given rise to the supposition that some one who copied the matter for his own benefit jotted down the words of our text as a comment – his own thought respecting the passage. His manuscript in turn being loaned to some one else to copy, the marginal comment was misunderstood and supposed to be an omission, and was copied into the text as a part of the Scriptures. However, as we have shown, this text is in full accord with the entire Scriptural statement, so that those who are not satisfied with the evidence that it is spurious may still in the light of the divine word, as we have set it forth, avoid being stumbled by this passage – may see how, even if it be true, it is in accord with the remainder of the Scriptures, which from any other standpoint of view it contradicts.


In conclusion, dear friends, I remind you that while it is proper for us to be interested in every feature of the divine plan, and that all Scripture is profitable that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished, nevertheless our personal interest in God's great plan is identified with the promises relating to the First Resurrection. They that will have part in this will reign with Christ during that thousand years; they will be – the "blessed and holy" that have part in the First Resurrection, and on them the Second Death will have no power, but they shall reign priests with Christ for that thousand years. (Rev. 20:6)

By the Lord's grace we, who now have the hearing ear and the understanding heart, have the opportunity for making our calling and election sure to a place in this spiritual class who will experience the First Resurrection. The blessings provided for these are not the earthly portion to which the world may attain through the judgment resurrection, but the heavenly portion, joint-heirship with Christ, partakers of the divine nature, "heirs of God." [Rom. 8:17]

In proportion as we see the harmony of God's Word we are assured that these exceeding great and precious promises granted to the Church are not cunningly devised fables, are not poetical figures, but clear, plain statements of the glorious things which God hath in reservation for them that love him more than they love houses or lands, father or mother, wife or children or self. Our Lord says, "He that hath an ear let him hear." [Rev. 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22]

I trust, dear brethren and sisters, that that refers to you and to me, that we hear his Word, that we respond to his call, and that we will lay aside every weight and every besetting sin, and to the extent of ability we will run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author of our faith, until he shall become the finisher of it by giving us a share with himself in the First Resurrection, its glories, its honors, its divine nature.

The National Labor Tribune, June 10, 1906


New York City, June 10 – Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny, Pa., addressed two large audiences here today. In the afternoon, at the Grand Opera House, he delivered his discourse entitled, "A Cure for Infidelity – To Hell and Back."

In the evening, at Judson Memorial Chapel, his text was, "I write unto you that ye avoid sin. Yet if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is a propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:1, 2)

We report the latter discourse as follows: We have not in the past been sufficiently discriminating in our study on the Word. Failing to notice that the salvation of the elect Church is a matter separate and distinct from the world's situation, we have applied the various Scriptures dealing with sin and its [NS356] forgiveness in a loose manner, which has failed to bring a clear-cut view on the subject. For instance, with the gradual opening of the eyes of our understanding we note in our text the declaration that our Lord's sacrifice was a propitiation, satisfaction for our sins, the Church's sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. We perceive that in this text the Lord sharply differentiates between the Church and the world, between our salvation and the world's salvation.

True, at one time there was no difference, for we were all "children of wrath even as others" still are; but we who have heard the voice of the heavenly Father speaking peace through Jesus Christ, we who have accepted that message, we who have been reconciled to God through the death of his Son, are no longer of the world, but, from God's standpoint, constitute a separate and distinct class, a small minority, "a little flock."

The Scriptures tell us that we are called, chosen, separated from the world. Our Master's words are, "Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world," "Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you, and ordained you." John 15:16, 19


At another time we hope to take up the subject of Christ the Mediator, and to then show that it will be during the Millennial age that Christ will act as Mediator between God and man: that as he has already laid the foundation for the great work of reconciling the world unto the Father through the sacrifice of himself, he will during the Millennial age complete that work by reconciling the world to the Father – as many of the world as are under favorable opportunities will be glad to come to a knowledge of the divine character and plan and to obedience to the divine requirements.

The Scriptures properly enough speak of our Lord Jesus as already the Mediator, from the standpoint that he has already been honored by the Father and indicated as the one who shall perform that great work of mediation – the one who must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet, and caused every knee to bow and every tongue to confess to the glory of God the Father. (1 Cor. 15:25; Philip. 2:9-11)

The time for doing this work, however, the time for exercising his power as the Mediator and putting all things into subjection is still future. Just now we wish to emphasize the thought that our Lord Jesus is not the Church's Mediator before the Father, but the Church's Advocate. There is a sharp distinction to be drawn between the two thoughts. A mediator implies a hostility between two principals, requiring the intervention of a third party, and this is not the case with the Church. We are not rebels, we are not alienated from God, but now through faith in the blood we are children of God, and our Redeemer assures us, "The Father himself loveth you." (John 16:27)

Even before the time came in the Lord's plan when the Kingdom would be established, the rebels subdued, we were glad to hear the Father's voice speaking peace through Jesus Christ, and we came to him: Surely, then, there is no need of a Mediator between the Father who loves his children and children who love their Father. However, the basis of our acceptance with the Father was our hearty renunciation of sin and our acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus as covering our blemishes and condemnation of the past, and our acceptance of the Father in Christ was on condition that we would henceforth walk in his steps, not after the flesh but after the Spirit, as set forth in the perfect law of liberty, the law of love to God and man. It may be asked then, If we are children of God and the Father himself loveth us and has accepted us in Christ through the merit of his atoning blood, why should we need an advocate with the Father?

We reply that the Father's requirement that our hearts be perfect in love to him and to do all is beyond our ability – not beyond our desires, our endeavors, our intentions, but beyond our accomplishment, because we have the treasure of the new mind in earthen vessels – imperfect bodies, born in sin, shapen in iniquity, on account of which the Apostle says, "We can not do the things that we would." (Gal. 5:17)

This constitutes our need of an advocate with the Father, otherwise we should lose the standing already granted to us through faith. But our Advocate not only applied a share of his merit on our behalf for the sins that are past, but stands prepared to apply on our behalf also the measure of his merit for the covering of every imperfection, every trespass which we may commit – so long as our hearts are loyal to the Lord and we are striving to do those things which would please him.

In a word our Advocate stands ready to make good all our deficiencies, our shortcomings, all our trespasses which are not willingly ours, but ours through weaknesses of heredity, which makes us subject to temptations to which we are exposed daily hourly, not only from our own flesh but also from the world and the great Adversary, Satan.


This brings up the subject of forgiveness of sins. Some are inclined to say: If our sins were forgiven once why should we repeat the matter at the throne of grace? Why should we continue to acknowledge ourselves sinners when the Word of the Lord assures us that our sins and iniquities are covered from his sight, that [NS357] we are justified freely by his grace from all sin? There is a measure of correctness in this argument, but in other respects it is incorrect. So far as the original sin is concerned – our share in the Adamic condemnation that passed upon all men – the Scriptures assure us that we have escaped the condemnation which is on the world. 1 Cor. 11:32

To whatever extent, therefore, we believe the testimony of the Lord's Word that our sins are covered, that we are escaped from that condemnation, it would not be proper for us to reiterate to the Lord prayers for forgiveness of our share in original sin. That is all past and gone, and the proper attitude of faith in God's assurance forbids that we should repeat requests along that line, although it would always be proper for us to acknowledge the Lord's goodness in having forgiveness for our share of original sin, and to thank him for having lifted our feet out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay of sin and its condemnation, and for having placed our feet upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and put in our mouths the new song of rejoicing and thanksgiving and praise, which is our privilege and our joy since we have passed from condemnation to justification, from being children of wrath to sonship and joint-heirship with Jesus Christ our Lord.

There are more sins than our original sin which in the Lord's prayer are designated trespasses, and these should be considered, should be mentioned at the throne of grace daily. As New Creatures we have entered into a covenant with the Lord to walk in Jesus' steps in the narrow way, according to the law of love. And we all find continually that, however sincere and loyal our hearts are to the principles of righteousness and love, we come short of the perfect standard because of weaknesses, blemishes and imperfections of the flesh. These trespasses against the law of love should be mentioned at the throne of grace. It is to these that the Apostle is referring in our text.

In the preceding context he is directing us how we should maintain fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, so that, so far from our imperfections separating us again from the Father and from the Son, our joy may be full, our fellowship complete. He tells us that as New Creatures we must walk in the light according to the new nature, according to truth, according to righteousness: we must not walk in sin, in darkness. But since we have the treasure of the new mind in a blemished earthen vessel, since our spotless robe of Christ's righteousness must be worn continually and thus be brought in contact with the world, the Apostle intimates that it would be impossible for us to preserve it without spot or wrinkle.

Nevertheless our wedding-robe must be without spot or wrinkle if we would be acceptable at the end of the age as members of the heavenly bride at the marriage feast. How then shall we do? What must be our course in view of these apparently contradictory conditions? The Apostle explains that the blood of Christ not only met first the obligations of the past, satisfying, setting aside the condemnation which was against us as members of Adam's race – but that the same merit of the same sacrifice of Christ may be used for the cleansing of every spot, every imperfection, every blemish. He says, "The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us (keeps cleansing us) from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

Thus and thus only can the Lord's children in this present time continue to abide in fellowship with the Father and with the Son, and be prepared for the glorious change of the First Resurrection promised to this class alone.


The Apostle, surmising that some would claim that they had reached perfection and that their daily life was perfect, puts in a warning word, saying, "If we say that we have no sin (that we are free from any breaches of the perfect law of love toward God and man) we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." [1 John 1:8]

We make God a liar, and indicate that his Word is not in us – that we have not properly studied or understood his Word. There is no more serious condition for the Lord's people to get into than to imagine that they are perfect in the flesh. It implies that they are blind to many of their own failings. We may be sure that their neighbors and friends and kindred can discern blemishes in them, and that much more the heavenly Father discerns, as he declares in his Word that they come short of glorifying him – that they come short of the full glory of perfection which the perfect law of love demands.

While, therefore, faith in the Lord and a knowledge of his Word shows us clearly that we are purged from our old sins, that from the divine standpoint these are all covered for the household of faith by the robe of Christ's imputed righteousness, we see on the contrary that daily imperfections crop out, notwithstanding our best endeavors to walk as nearly up to the standard of the divine law as possible – we see that we can not do the things that we would. More than this, as year by year we grow in grace and knowledge and love we see ourselves more clearly, so that after making progress in the Christian way for years, the best of the Lord's people will see more of their own blemishes than they noted in the beginning of their Christian-experience.

They daily see more clearly than before the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine character and of the divine law; and as they look into the perfect law of liberty they discern more clearly day by day, and behold as in a mirror their own natural imperfections and shortcomings. Such would be completely [NS358] discouraged did they not realize the significance of the Apostle's words in today's lesson. He says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

The Apostle, we see, is not referring to the question of moral sin again, and applying for a new robe of Christ's righteousness. All that was done in the past; that robe is now ours, and must never be laid off if we would abide in divine favor. But our robe must be spotless, and hence the gracious provision of the Father through the Son that the blood of Christ may upon our application be applied to cleanse us from all sins, even the slighter ones. Thus has the Lord provided that we may keep our garments unspotted from the world by making use of this privilege granted us of coming with courage to the throne of heavenly grace that we may obtain mercy (in respect to our shortcomings or trespasses) and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. 4:16

Nothing in this, properly understood, suggests any carelessness on the part of those who would keep their garments unspotted from the world. Imbued with the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, with a love for righteousness, they are, as the Apostle suggests, to "hate even the garment spotted with the flesh" (Jude 23), and strive continually and with growing persistency and carefulness to avoid such blemishes and necessity for confessing trespasses. But although this necessity grows less and less as we grow stronger and stronger in the Lord and in the power of his might, nevertheless, so long as the New Creature must operate through the earthen vessel, we must not feel discouraged with our best endeavors for righteousness, but the more earnestly wait for and hope for the glorious resurrection change, in which we shall receive glorious spirit bodies, which our Lord has promised to the faithful – perfect in every particular. Thenceforth we will know no sin, and need no further to confess trespasses, for that which is perfect shall have come, and the new mind, the New Creature, thenceforth will be able to express its high and glorious sentiments of obedience to righteousness perfectly.


The Lord brings to our attention the fact that there will be two classes saved during this Gospel age, as well as another class that will be saved during the Millennial age. All saved during this age are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, 'justified through faith in his blood." (Rom. 5:9)

But the classes saved during this Gospel age do more than believe, do more than repent, do more than seek to live righteously. Both classes make a covenant with the Lord to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, both classes receive the white robe of justification as a result of such faith and consecration. One of these classes we have already referred to, the class which seeks to live up to its consecration daily, hourly, and which keeps its garments unspotted from the world, "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing." [Eph. 5:27]

This class in the Scriptures is designated a "little flock."

The other class is designated the "great company."

Concerning the latter company note the statement, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Rev. 7:14)

This class, failing to keep their robes unspotted, failing to go to the Lord in prayer with every discovery of trespass, get their robes sadly bedraggled through contact with the world. They were vexed with the first spot, and with the second, and so on, but gradually they became more careless and less and less appreciative of the absolute spotlessness of the robe. For this reason they will not be accounted worthy of the high honor which the Lord proposes to give to the "little flock."

But before they can obtain any honor or any place in the everlasting Kingdom it will be necessary that they should pass through fiery experiences, disciplines, for their correction, for their purification. In some parts of the Scriptures this trial is referred to as the "fiery trial which shall try you." (1 Pet. 4:12)

Its primary reference is to a great tribulation in the end of this age, through which all except the little flock may be expected to pass. In that tribulation time there will be a general cleansing, a general turning to the Lord on the part of these consecrated ones and an acceptance by the Lord, for we read that they shall come up out of the great tribulation and be granted palm branches, and be permitted to serve the Lord in his Temple before his throne. We notice, however, that the little flock, who keep their garments unspotted by daily, hourly, applying for their share of the precious blood for this purpose – these receive the higher honor, and instead of being before the throne are in the throne as the Bride, the Lamb's Wife; instead of having palm branches, representing victory, they have crowns, which represent victory on a higher, grander plane, approving them as"more than conquerors through him who loved them and bought them with his precious blood." [Rom. 8:37]

In other words, the great company mentioned here are chastened through tribulation to the point of the purgation of sins and the cleansing of the robe, and attain to the spiritual nature and will be highly honored servants of the Lord during the Millennial reign, while the little flock will be joint-heirs with their Lord in that Kingdom. The two classes are represented to us in Psalm 45: the little flock as the Bride all glorious with raiment of fine needlework and gold, representing the [NS359] embroidery of the fruits of the Spirit and the gold of the divine nature, while the great company – "the virgins her companions that do follow her" into the King's presence. The little flock in this symbolization of Revelation are pictured as 144,000, 12,000 out of each tribe of Israel. Natural Israel, as we have previously seen, was a typical people; the real Israel of God is Spiritual Israel. The promises and opportunities, however, went first to Natural Israel, and as many out of all the tribes who were of right condition of heart and received the Master were granted the liberty to become members of the house of sons. (John 1:12)

The remainder of that nation were cast off from participation in the chiefest blessing – to subsequently have an opportunity in the Millennial age of attaining to an inferior blessing. Their casting off left vacancies in the appointed numbers of the twelve tribes, and it is to those vacancies that the Lord during this Gospel age has been inviting those who have an ear to hear the truth and who have earnest desires of accepting it. Many more will be called than will be chosen to this place, while the world in general is not even called, but only those who have an ear to hear.

The great company, although called, failing to respond with full appreciation, fail to secure membership in this Spiritual Israel class, the little flock, yet, as we have seen, they will come through much tribulation and disciplines of the Lord to a grand position, though far inferior to that of the "very elect."


The world has no advocate with the Father, but "we have."

The consecrated household of faith is represented in heaven itself by him who redeemed the whole world. This is in accordance with our topic of last Sunday, which many of you have doubtless followed through the public press. We there showed that after our Lord had finished his sacrifice at Calvary, been raised from the dead on the third day, spent forty days with the disciples, establishing them and preparing them for the work before them, he then ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God on our behalf, as today's text declares, "to be our advocate." (Heb. 9:24)

The figure is a peculiar one. An advocate, an attorney, appears to answer for his client, not to answer for others; and so, although our Lord paid the ransom price for the sins of the whole world, or, as today's text says, was a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, nevertheless he did not appear for the whole world. The world has not retained him as an advocate. Only believers have come into this relationship, and consequently only for these does he appear, only for these has he made satisfaction; only these, therefore, have been brought into covenant relationship with the Father.

The same Jesus, on the basis of the same sin offering finished at Calvary, will in the next age take up the cause of the world – not as an advocate, not as appearing before the Father for them and having them justified through faith, but as a go-between, a mediator between God and man. God stands for his own justice. Mankind in general, the world, are in more or less of a rebellious attitude, lovers of sin, blind to their true interests. The Mediator undertakes a work on their behalf, to bring in reconciliation between God and these his rebellious subjects, and to recover the latter by opening the eyes of their understanding, by giving them valuable lessons and experiences respecting the blessings of righteousness and the undesirableness of sin, and thus to bring back as many as possible to fellowship with the Father, and to restore them mentally, morally and physically to the original likeness of God.

By the end of that Millennial age the Mediator will be ready to introduce the perfect members of the race to the Father, blameless and irreprovable – all those rejecting his ministries of reconciliation will have been cut off in the Second Death. Thenceforth there will be no more sorrow, pain, sighing, crying, dying, because all the former things will have passed away, the Mediator will have effected his grand work of destroying sin and bringing in everlasting righteousness.

How precious the thought that, while the world is mentally, morally and physically poisoned by sin and blind to it own best interests, the time shall yet come when they will be blessed with the opening of the eyes of their understanding and with all the assistances necessary for their recovery. And how the Lord's words resound in our ears, "Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear." (Matt. 13:16)

We may well thank God that the light of the knowledge of his goodness has shined into our hearts, and that we no longer need to wait for the Mediator's work to reconcile us, but now in advance turn to the Lord promptly, as soon as we have heard of his grace in Christ. And how gracious is his provision in all respects for our adoption into his family, our begetting of the Spirit to a new nature, that we may become heirs of God and joint-heirs with his Son in the glorious Kingdom which is to bless the world.

How blessed, too, is this special privilege which we are considering today, namely, that although in our imperfection we must concede that we are trespassers of divine grace and fail to come up to the terms and conditions of our covenant, nevertheless God has provided for us an advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous, whose righteousness has been imputed to us, by whose stripes we are healed, our blemishes covered and not counted to us, but counted to him who died for us on Calvary. Let us rejoice in this loving favor, and [NS360] more and more zealously strive to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, and to keep close accounts with the Lord, so that our consciences will be sensitive, and even slight violations of the law of love will appeal to us as contrary to our covenant and send us to the blood again, which makes and keeps us whole.

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