What Pastor Russell Said

Question Book


DEATH--Of Josiah

QUESTION--In 2 Kings 22:20th verse we read "Behold, therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, aud thou shall be gathered into thy grave in peace." Then in 2 Kings 23:29-30, we are told that Josiah was killed at Megiddo. Please explain and harmonize. (M.D.G.)

ANSWER--The promise which the Lord made to Josiah, as stated in 2 Kings 22:20, was because of the splendid work of reformation which the king had inaugurated and was prosecuting against the false and idolatrous religious systems that had become established in the land, during the preceding reigns of the kings of Judah. While it is not specifically stated that this promise was conditioned on Josiah's continued faith and obedience to the Lord, yet we can be assured that such must have been the case, for all of God's promises are of this nature. As Josiah did not die in peace, but was slain in battle, we would naturally be led to examine the Scriptures to find wherein Josiah had acted contrary to the Lord's will. The incidents narrated in the next chapter, are described more in detail in 2 Chronicles 35th chapter and the reason why Josiah suffered a violent death is clearly outlined in the 20th verse. What a lesson far all--to mind their own business and not to meddle in the affairs of others!

DEATH--Surely Die vs. Eyes Opened

QUESTION--In Gen. 2:16,17, we read-- "And the Lord God commanded the man saying . . . but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." In Gen. 3:4,5, we read as follows-- "And the Serpent said unto the Woman, Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil." My question is: which of these statements are we to regard as true? (I.D.)

ANSWER--The Apostle says that God cannot lie, and one of the ancient writers of the Scriptures declared that "God is not a man that He should lie." (Titus 1:2; Num. 23:19.) Our Lord, on the contrary, in speaking of Satan, the Serpent, said-- "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh of a lie he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44.) In view of these plain declarations of the Scriptures, it would be advisable to accept the Lord's Word an the subject of death being the penalty for disobedience. Scientists, our own senses, and the Word of God, all agree that the dead are dead; and not alive, as Satan and all his emissaries would have us believe. See Rom. 3:4.

DEATH--"Their Worm Shall Not Die."

QUESTION--I've always had a sneaking idea that somewhere in the subterraneum depth of my make-up there was an immortal worm or something which could never be extinguished, and when this tabernacle that I am inhabiting disintegrates into its original elements, this whatever-it- [Q766] may-be will pass into the great beyond, off somewhere in the realms of boundless space. Now, what I'd like to know is: ain't there some Scriptures that proves my idea is correct? I ain't never been able to find it myself, although my grandmother said as how it was there. (Z.E.D.)

ANSWER--The Bible does not speak of the place where "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched." (Isa. 66:24.) This place, however, has reference to the Valley of Gehenna, where the refuse of the city of Jerusalem was cast. In this valley fire and brimstone were kept burning continually. The bodies of dead animals, and criminals who had been executed, were sometimes thrown into this place. These would frequently lodge upon the rocks and would be consumed by worms, which were undying until the carcasses were consumed. Thus the Prophet was forcefully picturing the absolute destruction of the wicked, and was in no sense picturing their preservation. As there is to be a resurrection of the dead, it follows that there must be something that is preserved when death takes place. This "what-ever-it-may-be" is the character or the identity, which, in the awakening, will be endowed with a new body and with life. See 1 Cor., 15th chapter. Scientists and Bible students have never discovered any "immortal worms."

DEATH--re Those Who Die Without Baptism.

QUESTION--I have just lost a dear little girl who never was baptized. I am about mad with grief and sorrow. Some people tell me that she is lost to all eternity and may possibly now be writhing in eternal torture. I have called in our minister and he only shakes his head in doubt. I have also talked with ministers of other denominations and can get no consolation. I will appreciate it if your question box can give me a satisfactory answer. I want God's word and no guesses if you please. (an anxious mother.)

ANSWER--We appreciate your sorrow and anxiety. Many mothers have been comforted by the Lord's word found in Jer. 31:15. "Thus saith the Lord, A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children, because they were not." (They were dead, unconscious, "The dead know not anything."--Ecc. 9:5.) These children of Rachel were not in eternal torment, and there is no record of their ever having been baptized. "Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears... they shall came again from the land of the enemy." Death is always spoken of in the Bible as an enemy, and the last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Cor. 15:26.) All the sleeping ones shall return from the tomb, "the land of the enemy," when Christ shall come again, (John 5:28,29 --Revised version.)

DEATH--Re Tree falleth.

QUESTION--Kindly explain the last part of the third verse of Ecc., the eleventh chapter: "In the place where the tree falleth there it shall be."

ANSWER--We find this scripture to be in harmony with the remainder of the Bible and as particularly expressed in the ninth chapter of this same book of Ecclesiastes-- [Q767] "for there is no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest." When an individual dies- -falls as a tree in death--so shall he remain in the same condition in which he went into the death state, even as the tree of the forest remains at rest. According to the ideas of some good, well-meaning people, when a man dies there is something that escapes and goes winging its flight around through space, and, according to this theory, this intangible essence that it is liberated from the body, is the real individuality, and thus the person is more alive than ever and perfectly conscious. With this view in mind, and referring to the scriptures quoted in the question, we would be forced to understand that when a tree falls it does not actually die, but something passes from it and it is very much alive somewhere. However, there is no such absurdity about the Bible teachings, to the effect that the dead are dead (and not alive) and will be awakened in the morning of the resurrection.

DEMONS--Responsible for Rapping Tables & Other Antics.

QUESTION--The Boston (Mass.) press recently devoted columns of conservative space to describing the antics performed by the furniture in the parish home of a Catholic priest residing in one of the suburban districts of that center of the intellectual universe. Tables and chairs waltzed about the room, and a brass costumer threw itself downstairs, while an alarm clock behaved in a most alarming manner, hurling itself across the room and then repeating the stunt after being restored to its original position. The several inmates of the house were duly impressed by these extraordinary proceedings, but were unable to account for them. Perhaps you can explain the mystery. What? (Psyche)

ANSWER--Reports of similar proceedings, in all parts of the globe, indicate that the powers of darkness are becoming very active. These peculiar manifestations can be attributed to nothing else than to the operation of the demons that infest earth's atmosphere. Let no one for a moment suppose that these phenomena are produced by those who have died, and that these are indications of an effort on their part to communicate with their friends and relatives in the flesh. Our friends are asleep in the tomb, wholly unconscious (Ecc. 9:10) and therefore, could not be spending their time in throwing furniture around, thumping on banjos, twanging guitars, and rapping on tables. If our friends had nothing better to do on the other side, than to engage in such silly antics, as these spiritual phenomena usually are, we would do well to treat them with cold contempt. The tendency of spiritualism is invariably downward; no one has ever been influenced to the higher and nobler things through the power of the demons.

DEMONS--re Speaking in Unknown Tongues.

QUESTION--What is meant by the expression "unknown tongues" as mentioned by the Apostle in 1 Cor. 14th chapter? Is it possible for anyone to speak in unknown tongues at the present time? (J.J.L.)

ANSWER--On the day of Pentecost, as the Apostles were gathered together at Jerusalem, the holy spirit, the [Q768] power of God, rested upon them and by its influence they were enabled to speak in unknown languages, so that the peoples of different countries and nationalities were able to understand the message which the Apostles were delivering. (Acts 2:1-12.) This gift of the spirit was conferred upon others of the Lord's followers later and was for the purpose of qualifying them to bear witness to the truth to people of foreign lands. In the chapter referred to in the question, the Apostle discourses at some length on this subject of "tongues" and explains that they were merely for a sign which was not to be used unless an interpreter were present. Although he could speak in more tongues or languages than all of the brethren, yet he would rather speak five words and be understood than to utter ten thousand words and not be understood. When the church was thoroughly established and the gospel message in its completeness had gone abroad, there was no longer any need for the "signs" or the miraculous gifts of the spirit and therefore, they ceased. (1 Cor. 13:8.) It is true that same today have the faculty of speaking in unknown tongues, but this is not accomplished through the power of the Lord; it is of the evil one. A single glance at the frenzied condition, and the paroxysms of those speaking in the unknown tongues, should be conclusive evidence that they are obsessed by demons or evil spirits.

DESTRUCTION--Everlasting--in What Way?

QUESTION--Do the words "everlasting" and "forever and ever" as applied to the punishment of the wicked, mean an eternity of misery, and torment, or merely punishment for a season? Cannot the wicked be destroyed? If they are fireproof and indestructible; then have they not eternal life as well as the righteous? And if they have eternal life, how shall we understand the words of the inspired writer when he says "and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him"? John 3:15 (Serious).

ANSWER--Let no one be deceived regarding the duration of the punishment of the wicked, as it is repeatedly put forth in the scriptures that it is for eternity and not merely for a season. However; it is not a question as to the duration of the punishment, but it is a question as to the nature of the punishment. It is about this point that many Christians have been confused. When the Apostle says, concerning the ultimate fate of the wicked, "they shall suffer everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord," they at once get the thought of the eternal feature of the punishment, but do not get the proper idea as to its nature; reasoning generally that "destruction" means preservation (in fire and brimstone). Death is the punishment for sin. It is the penalty for disobedience. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23.) And when death is eternal, it is eternal punishment. There should be no question on this point. The scriptural proposition is very plain. "The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." The wicked, who after full light and knowledge, refused to accept of the grace of God as manifested through Christ, will never receive the "gift" of eternal life. [Q769]

DESTRUCTION--The Mountain of--(Battle of Armageddon)

QUESTION--What is the meaning of the word "Armageddon"? Also, what is signified by "the battle of Armageddon"? These are expressions that I see are appearing quite frequently in the daily press these balmy political days, and my curiosity is aroused considerably. (T.R.)

ANSWER--The name is found in Rev. 16:16, and means literally "The Mountain of Destruction." It is supposed to have reference to the place where the Lord caused fearful destruction of the enemies of Israel before the armies of Gideon, and of Jehoshaphat. On both of these occasions, the slaughter of the allied armies of the foe was terrible and the rout was complete (Judges 8; 2 Chronicles 20). These are believed to be types or illustrations of the "time of troubles such as was not since there was a nation" in the end of this Christian era, when "the whole world is gathered together for the battle of the great day of God the Almighty." (Dan. 12:1; Rev. 14:14; Zeph. 3:8.)

As a matter of fact, the opposing hosts of this last final conflict are gathering at this present time. The spirit of revolution and anarchism in the world is generating a boiling, seething condition of affairs. The warring political factions, the militant suffragettes, the socialists, the nihilists, the anarchists, the labor organizations, the capitalistic combinations, and the ecclesiastical system, all in opposition to each and all, are rushing headlong to the Mountain of Destruction--Armageddon. The nations of the earth are already gathered together, forming one vast community of general interests, commercially, financially, and politically, and associated by the modern methods of communication, the cables, wireless telegraphs, railways and steamship lines. Armageddon will truly be an awful place of destruction with all the world engaged in that last final struggle!

DIVINE NATURE--Explain Nature

QUESTION--What is meant by Divine nature, etc.? What is the meaning of the word nature in these connections? (A.P.N.)

ANSWER--The word "nature" in its true sense, as applied to creatures, or beings, signifies the kind of organism and sphere of existence in which they live and move and have their being. Thus when human nature is referred to, it signifies the conditions of existence relating to the human race. The angelic nature is in a higher and different sphere of existence than that of humanity. (Psa. 8.) As there is a vast difference between the conditions of existence of a fish and a bird, so we may reasonably suppose there is just as wide a difference between the human and angelic. The Divine nature is the highest of all natures, and is different from all others in this regard--it possesses inherent life and is, therefore, immortal. Whereas all other natures possess life that is not inherent, but is sustained by partaking of the life-giving elements peculiar to the different natures. A blending of natures would be a hybrid thing--a monstrosity. The Lord Jesus experienced two changes of nature-- from spiritual to human (Heb. 2:16,17) and then [Q770] from human to Divine. It is promised in the Scriptures that the faithful followers of Christ shall also experience a change of nature, and will "became partakers of the Divine nature"- -the nature of God. 2 Pet. 1:4.

DIVINITY--Is Jesus Divine?

QUESTION--Can we say that Jesus is divine and yet not worship Him as deity? (H.A.R.)

ANSWER--The Logos is designated "The Only Begotten Son" of God. The thought conveyed by this expression is that the Logos, the Lord Jesus, is the only direct creation or begetting of the Heavenly Father, while all others of God's sons (angels as well as men), were His indirect creation through the Logos. Hence the propriety, the truthfulness, of the statement, that He is the Only Begotten Son of God. The Lord Jesus has ever been the agency or channel through whom the Divine purposes have been accomplished. As the direct agent of the Heavenly Father it is appropriate that He should be honored even as the Father is honored. And so it is written, "That all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father." (John 5:23.) After the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, He was highly exalted, receiving glory, honor, and immortality, the divine nature. In view of this high exaltation, and of His position of special favor at the right hand of the Majesty an high, it is no cause for surprise that we find it stated that all should bow the knee to Him: "Him hath God highly exalted, and given Him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow."--Phil. 2:9.

EARTH--Was Motion Reversed?--Dial of King Ahaz.

QUESTION--In 2 Kings 20:11, we read that Isaiah the Prophet cried unto the Lord; and He brought the shadow of the sun ten degrees backwards, by which it had gone down on the dial of Ahaz. Does this record teach that the Lord reversed the earth's motion upon its axis? (A.)

ANSWER--The possibility of such a miracle has been questioned by many, who have insisted that it would involve not only stoppage of the motion of the earth upon its axis, but an impossible retrograde movement, to be accomplished in a moment of time. However, Professor Garbett, writing far a magazine called Knowledge, declares that he knew of an afternoon some years ago when, on many sun-dials in Southern England, there occurred exactly the wonder described in the book of Kings. Asked by Astronomer R.A. Proctor to describe it, he writes as follows: "The shiftings of the shadows an the dials, that Isaiah predicted to sick Hezekiah, are liable to occur at any place, when these two circumstances occur: (1) That the upper atmosphere is in that condition which causes two bright parhelion or mock suns to appear an opposite sides of the sun; and (2) that the lower air contains drifting clouds, massive enough to hide often two of the three (apparent suns). When the real sun and eastern mock sun are hidden, there is only the western (mock sun) to cast shadows, which then coincides with what the sun would cast an hour and a half later; but if the clouds shift so as to hide the west parhelion, and disclose the eastern, the shadows instantly become such as [Q771] the sun cast an hour and a half earlier....On March 29, 1858, these effects occurred, had any one been looking, on every dial of Portsea, and very probably of much of Hampshire besides. The parhelia were present and bright enough at about 11 a.m. and still better at 1 p.m.

EARTH--Scriptural vs. Scientific View of Future

QUESTION--The Bible says "The earth abideth forever" (Ecc. 1:4). How do we harmonize this with the conclusions reached by scientists that the solar system is gradually running down and that eventually the earth will become cold and lifeless?

ANSWER--Even if the conclusions of scientists were realized as suggested above, it would not be out of harmony with the Bible statement, for the earth would still be "abiding" although in a lifeless form. Various have been the speculations as to the ultimate fate of the earth. Some have conjectured that the earth would eventually drop into the sun and thus be consumed. Others have suggested that a collision would occur with some comet or with another planet, and in this way, the earth would be disposed of. The suppositions of scientists have served to amuse a not too credulous public and, we believe, not many have taken them seriously as to their wild guesses. How reasonable and consistent the Bible teaching to the effect that the Creator formed the earth to be inhabited, and that while it is still in an imperfect condition as a habitation for mankind, yet it is to be made glorious and perfect and in its beautified state will form an everlasting dwelling place for the regenerated human race! See Isa. 14:18.

EARTH--Will it be Burned Up?

QUESTION--Are we to understand from the words of St. Peter (2 Pet. 3:10) that the earth is to be burned up at some time or other? And what is the meaning of the expression--"the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"

ANSWER--The symbolical earth of St. Peter's prophecy doubtless refers to the social order of things or organized society, represented in the various forms of government now existing. In referring to the last times or the last days, our Lord foretold a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation--Mat. 24:21 and the scriptures in general show how this "trouble" will be developed, and that it will be so destructive in character that it will result in the dissolution of the present evil, selfish, social structure, preparatory to the establishment of the "new earth"--verse 13--founded upon principles of equity, justice and love. The "elements" which constitute the present "earth" or social order, are the socialistic element, the capitalistic element, the labor element, etc. Who can not see that the friction existing between the various elements is constantly increasing, and that it is a question of but short time when the friction will become so intense that the elements, bursting forth into open flame, "will melt (be dissolved) with fervent heat," and thus the entire social fabric will be destroyed? As showing that the "fire" is not literal, we have in mind the Prophet's description of this same destructive time of trouble, in which it is stated that after [Q772] the "fire" has done its work, the Lord will "then" turn to the people a pure language. Zeph. 3:8,9.

EARTH--Will Present Resources Last Forever?

QUESTION--The scriptures state that God created the Earth not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited. (Isa. 14:18.) And also that the earth abideth forever. (Ecc. 1:4.) This seems to imply that the earth will be populated forever. If this be true, where will they get their supplies from, such as coal, minerals, timber, etc. when the present sources are exhausted? (E.M.)

ANSWER--The earth is composed of different elements. These elements, while they may change their forms and disappear from mortal vision, always remain the same elements. No instance has ever been known of where one element changed into another. But there is constant change taking place throughout all of the realms of nature. Yet, nothing is gained, and nothing is lost. Water changes from a solid (ice) into vapor (steam) and then into its elementary gases--H2O. Then the operation is reversed. The gases change to vapor--the vapor to liquids, and the liquids to solids. We may reason from this that when the coal, minerals, timber, etc., have all been used in their present form, and having been transformed into some other state, they will be utilized in that state or condition. And this process could go on throughout eternity without exhausting in the slightest degree the original elements. The process of change is always in a circle, and all that mankind will need to do will be to follow the circle around to its initial starting point and then repeat the process throughout all the years of eternity.

ELIJAH--Re John the Baptist.

QUESTION--What did Christ mean when he referred to John the Baptist as Elijah? (Matt. 17:2,12). Is this an evidence that he recognized re-incarnation as the truth?

ANSWER--The theory of re-incarnation is nowhere taught in the scriptures. Our Lord Jesus and the Apostles never, in all their teachings, said a word about re-incarnation. As to the meaning of the Savior's words referred to in the question, we recognize that He was calling to mind the prophecy of Mal. 4:5,6. John the Baptist was one of the greatest of the prophets, and it was his mission to prepare the way of the Messiah, the Christ, by performing a reformation work in preaching repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, and declaring the kingdom of heaven at hand. This message was to the Jews and to them only, as they had been the Lord's chosen people for many centuries. But now a new dispensation was about to be ushered in. The kingdom of heaven was at hand. And it was John's mission to prepare the people for the new order of things. This He did in the power and spirit of Elijah. (Luke 1:16,17.) We know positively that John was not Elijah for we have his own testimony on the subject. "And they asked him, what then? Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No." (John 1:21.) [Q773]

ENOCH--Translated--How Harmonized / All Died in Faith.

QUESTION--Heb. 11:5, we read that Enoch was translated that he should not see death. Then in the 13th verse we read that these all DIED in faith, referring to those mentioned in the preceding verses. Would this include Enoch among those mentioned? And if so please harmonize the two statements. (F.G.)

ANSWER--From the Genesis statement (Gen. 5:22-24) and the Apostles' words in the 5th verse of this 11th chapter of Hebrews, (Heb. 11:5) we are inclined to believe that the Lord translated Enoch that he should not see death; that in some way Enoch's life was preserved. As the scriptures do not say where the Lord placed Enoch that he should not see death, it would be idle speculation an our part to attempt to set forth just where to look for him. If Enoch, then, is alive somewhere as the 5th verse indicates, the expression of the 13th verse--"these all died in faith"--would have no reference to him. The Apostle was evidently referring to those mentioned in the 12th verse, and not to those mentioned in the preceding verses. "Therefore sprang from one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith."


QUESTION--Where did evil originate? Is God the author of evil? (Isa. 14:7; Amos 3:6.)

ANSWER--The word evil in the texts cited has the meaning in the Hebrew language of adversity. These evils or calamities were sent upon the Jews as chastisements for their violation of the terms of the covenant which they had made with the Lord. The evil here referred to was not evil in the sense of its being a wrong or a sin. Right and wrong, good and evil as principles have always existed and always will. Principles are eternal. Sin was produced by the evil principle becoming active, and began with Satan who permitted evil to control and dominate his course of action. Sin and evil were introduced into the world by Satan when he induced our first parents to disobey the Divine command. Thus the race has come under the dominion of sin and death supervised by Satan, the God (ruler) of this "present evil world." (2 Cor. 4:4.) At the appointed time when the Lord shall again control earth's affairs, establishing his own kingdom in the earth, Satan is to be bound and eventually will be destroyed, while evil will gradually cease to be active until at the close of Christ's reign, when sin and evil in their various forms, suffering, and death, shall be no more. (Rev. 21:3-5.)

EVIL--Why Does God Permit?

QUESTION--Why does God the great creator who has all power and wisdom permit the reign of sin and evil in the earth? When we see all of the sorrow and misery existing in the world because of the evil we wonder that a just and loving creator would permit these things when he has the ability to put an end to them at any time? [Q774]

ANSWER--This is a very important question and one that thinking minds have pondered by using a fact of history to illustrate the matter. In ancient times during the reign of a just and wise ruler over a large part of the earth, a rebellion occurred in a certain portion of the empire. A usurper arose and, misrepresenting the character of the emperor, succeeded in inducing the people of this particular province to no longer render obedience to their rightful sovereign. Although the emperor had the power to suppress the rebellion at once, he permitted the tyrant to rule over the province, and in this way let the people experience the hardships and evils of misrule, that they might the better appreciate the advantages of the wise and beneficent reign of the monarch. Also it would furnish an object lesson to the people of the other provinces. And thus it turned out. The people in time grew exceedingly weary of the woe and sorrows inflicted by the usurper, and when the opportunity finally presented itself to escape from his dominion, they gladly returned to complete harmony with their emperor, expressing their allegiance and full submission to his just commands. Satan, "The God (ruler) of this present evil world," is to be bound eventually and the people, liberated from his dominion and tyranny, and instructed in righteousness, for, when "the judgments of the Lord are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness," will then appreciate the wise and just commands of their creator, their rightful sovereign.

FAITH--Can it Remove a Literal Mountain?

QUESTION--In Matt. 17:20, Jesus said to his disciples "if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Could one have faith to remove a literal mountain? (A.C.D.)

ANSWER--The question would seem to be a preposterous one, but when we reflect upon the meaning of the word faith; that it is not imagination or blind credulity, but, as defined by the Apostle, "Faith is a basis of things hoped for; a conviction of things unseen." (Heb. 11:1.) We can see that our Lord's teaching here is in agreement with what he taught on another occasion (John 15:7) where he set forth that the request must be in harmony with the Divine will. But since there is no basis of evidence for faith that the will of God is to remove literal mountains in answer to any idle or self-willed, or ignorant commands of men to do so, a genuine faith in his willingness to do it now is an impossibility. But regarding the mountain as a symbol of difficulty and obstruction in our individual Christian course, or in the course of God's work, we know that "Miracles" are wrought for those who exercise faith; and they going forward in the strength of the Lord, are permitted to overcome difficulties and to work righteousness otherwise impossible.

FAITH--How Cultivated?

QUESTION--How can I get faith when I don't have it naturally?

ANSWER--Faith may be cultivated as any other mental [Q775] quality, and is increased in proportion to knowledge and reliance upon that knowledge. To have faith in God we must learn His character, plans, and purposes. This we acquire by a study of His word and relying upon the promises and truths therein stated. False doctrines have made God's character appear hideous. "Fear (dread) of him is taught by the precepts of men." A true knowledge of his character and plan greatly increase our faith in and love for him. Faith is scripturally defined as "the understanding of things hoped far, the proof of things unseen." Man hopes for eternal life in happiness. A basis for that hope is found in the word of God. A doubter may become a most earnest and tenacious believer upon receiving proper evidence. "Life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ." (Rom. 6:23.) His word is the only evidence pointing out clearly the way of obtaining that gift. To increase our faith we must, therefore, study God's word in a humble and prayerful manner, with the desire to know and do His will, and to rely upon His word. One who knows the letter of His word and fails to rely upon it has little faith. Another both knows the word and relies upon it and strong faith results. This is illustrated by the following incident; A man doubting the strength of the ice to bear his weight crawled across the river an his hands and knees, and just as he reached the opposite shore he was overtaken by a man, who had confidence in the strength of the ice, gaily driving a team of horses hitched to a sled loaded with pig iron.

FAITH--When Son of Man Cometh--Shall He Find?

QUESTION--Luke 18:8, "Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh shall He find faith on the earth?" Is it the mountain-moving faith that will be lacking? Please explain. (A.C.D.)

ANSWER--A word for word rendering from the oldest Greek manuscripts of the quotation given above is as follows: "But the Son of Man coming, indeed, will He find the faith on the earth?" The "faith" in the text would have the meaning of system of belief or doctrines, as expressed in the Bible statement, "The faith once delivered to the saints." The Master's words imply that the existence of the true faith at the time of His second coming would be somewhat doubtful. The Lord's words are remarkably fulfilled in the conditions of the present day. We see that, owing to the hundreds of conflicting creeds and doctrinal systems; the many "isms," and the strong delusions and multiplied errors; so that if it were possible the very elect would be deceived; not many are holding to the true faith--only the "very elect." (Matt. 24:24.) The object of the Lord's return is to put aside all of the evil and the error, and to fill the whole earth with the true faith and knowledge of God and thus to bring about the blessing of all mankind.--Habakkuk 2:14.

FATHER'S HOUSE--Many Mansions

QUESTION--What did Jesus mean when he said, "In my Father's house are many mansions"?

ANSWER--In the larger sense, the Universe is God's home or house, and this earth is His footstool. We know not [Q776] how many angelic orders there are, but the Scriptures intimate that there are spirit beings of various grades, of different nature, each perfect, but differing one from the other. The Divine Plan, in connection with their creation, made full arrangement for their comfort and happiness to all eternity. Similarly, when God created man He provided for his welfare to all eternity, giving him an earthly home, mansion, or apartment in the great House. Our Lord, in calling His Church, invited them to become God's "New Creation." He promised those who would become His footstep followers, bearing their cross after Him, that eventually they should be with Him, sharing His glory on the heavenly plane. They should be like unto the angels, but higher than the angels--His Bride. There is no place yet for this "New Creation," except in the Father's purpose, or plan, in which provision for the Church, as the Bride of Christ, had already been made. But it needed to be prepared for them, and they needed to be prepared for it. This preparation has gone on from the time our Lord said, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2,3).

FIRE--Re Burning Up Earth.

QUESTION--What kind of fire must that be which is to burn up the earth at the end of the world, when it is written of that very time, "THERE SHALL NOT BE A COAL TO WARM AT, NOR FIRE TO SIT BEFORE?" See Isa. 47:14.

ANSWER--The Scriptures in many places refer to the time of destruction in the end of the present order of things under various symbols or illustrations such as "fire," "earthquake," "whirlwind," etc. The literal earth or planet on which we dwell is not referred to in connection with these statements, but the present social order, with all of its selfishness and evil, is to be destroyed in a destructive time of trouble "such as was not since there was a nation." The earth itself will never pass away, for the Bible declares the Lord formed it to be inhabited and will eventually "make the place of His feet (His footstool--the earth) glorious." The expression of the Prophet, "there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before," we understand to signify that during the time of trouble and distress that shall come upon the nations in the last days, there will be no place or source of comfort and consolation for the class of false prophets or prognosticators of the preceding verse.

FIRE--Will Earth be Destroyed by Actual?

QUESTION--We hear of so many great fires these days, I wonder if the Bible shows that the earth will be destroyed by actual fire?

ANSWER--An improper conception of the Scriptures has led to many ludicrous conclusions concerning the destruction of the earth by fire. A man in western Pennsylvania became so thoroughly imbued with the thought that the world will be burned up by the Lord in the last days, that he vigorously protested against the great consumption of coal, [Q777] gas and oil now being mined and removed from below the earth's surface, declaring, "that the Lord will not have enough fuel with which to burn up the world when the time comes to do so, if this thing keeps up." Others have had the thought that even the literal heavens will be consumed in that dreadful conflagration. If the heaven is to be destroyed, where would even the Lord find a habitation?

The Apostle's words in 2 Pet. 3 are cited as authority by those who hold the theory of a literal destruction of heaven and earth. But let us observe that the Apostle is using figurative language. He mentions three worlds and three heavens, clearly meaning dispensation or ages each relating to a different social order and a spiritual rule. One of these ended with a great flood and the present is to pass away with a "great time of trouble" (Dan. 12:1). The prophet (Zep. 3:8,9) points out that after the present order of things passes away "then the Lord will turn to the people a pure message that they may all call upon the Lord," thus showing that the people remain. The Lord "made the earth to be inhabited" (Isa. 45:18). "The earth abideth forever" (Eccl. 1:4). It shall yet be a fit habitation for man. (Psa. 67:6.)

FLOOD--After, and Noah's Intoxication

QUESTION--If Noah was a just and respectable old gentleman of some six hundred years of age, how is it that we find him getting intoxicated--becoming drunk--as recorded in (Gen 9:20).

ANSWER--How true are the words of the poet--

"The evil that men do live after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones." But one instance of straying from the path of rectitude and sobriety in a long life of fidelity to the principles of righteousness will stand out with startling distinctness and will be the subject of more consideration than all of the individual's noble acts and traits combined. However, we shall not leave Noah defenseless, but will call attention to the fact that his intoxication was after the flood and was wholly unintentional. The flood wrought great changes in the atmospheric conditions of our earth; to our understanding the deluge was produced by the precipitation to the earth of an immense quantity of water which previously had surrounded the earth at a distance as a cloudy canopy. The dissolution of this canopy or envelope of water not only produced the flood, but altered the conditions of nature so that storms, rains, etc., resulted, things which had never been before. (Gen. 2:5,6.) Another result, we believe, was the development of an acidulous condition of the atmosphere tending to produce ferment, which directly affected human longevity, so that according to the Scriptures the average of human life decreased from eight and nine hundred years to one hundred. This ferment from the changed atmosphere, affecting the grape, generated "mold," and hence the alcoholic condition which produces drunkenness. According to the record, Noah's drunkenness was the result of the first vintage of grapes after the flood, and it evidently was contrary to all of his experiences preceding the flood. We are justified, therefore, in supposing that this one instance of Noah's having been intoxicated was the result of ignorance respecting the changed character of the grape product fermented.