What Pastor Russell Said

Question Book


FLOOD--Description Noah's Ark

QUESTION--How large was Noah's Ark, and how did it compare with modern vessels as to size and capacity?

ANSWER--The Bible (Gen. 6:15) gives the dimensions as follows: Three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits broad and thirty cubits high. The length of the cubit is variously estimated. The modern cubit is 18 inches, linear measure; the sacred cubit of the Jews is 21.88 inches. According to the latter the ark was 547.3 feet long, 91.2 feet wide and 54 feet high. The capacity, 2,730,782 cubic feet. Tonnage, 81,042. It is impossible however, to do more than merely to estimate the dimensions as no one can be absolutely sure as to the length of the cubit according to which the ark was constructed. There are some modern vessels of greater length than the ark, but the capacity of the ark was three times as great as any vessel afloat. It provided plenty of room for Noah and his family and pairs of all the 244 species of animals, taken in, as scheduled by the Buffon, together with all supplies needed for the long voyage. The design has been found in actual practice to yield the best results for safety and stowage.

FLOOD--Literal or Spiritual?

QUESTION--Are we to accept a literal flood, or does Gen. 6, 7, 8, give an account of a spiritual flood? (R.E.)

ANSWER--Scientific thought is coming more and more into harmony with the Scripture teachings as to the occurrence of an actual flood at about the time indicated in the Genesis account. From the latest investigations and researches, the conclusion has been formed that this earth was, in times remote, a part of the sun, and that it was thrown off, or detached from the central orb in the form of gas. In course of time, this whirling mass would cool and condense, and resolve itself into solids and liquids with the central mass as a nucleus around which several canopies or rings, similar to the rings of the planet Saturn, were developed. These would condense and in turn would eventually be precipitated to the earth one by one. Science and the Bible agree that there were six of these "canopies," and these, coming to the earth in their regular order, formed the six creative "days" or epochs as narrated in the first chapter of Genesis; the last one, being of water, brought about the deluge, or Noah's flood.

FOOLS--For Christ's Sake

QUESTION--The Apostle says--"We are fools for Christ's sake!"--what did he mean by this expression? How are Christians made fools? See 1 Cor. 4:10.

ANSWER--The Apostle Paul, because of his zeal and earnestness in the cause of Christ, had suffered opposition and persecution of various kinds and had even endured hunger and thirst and hardships, as he proceeds to narrate in this same chapter. To those without faith in Christ and His teachings this was all foolishness on the part of the Apostle. To them he seemed to be a religious fanatic--a [Q779] fool. And evidently some of the Christian brethren at Corinth got this same idea, deeming it needless to endure so much contempt and hardships for the Master's cause. These conditions have prevailed all down throughout the Christian Era, the consecrated, devoted people of the Lord, who have given their all, sacrificing ease, comfort and worldly fame and riches in their desire to serve Him who endured so much for their sakes, have ever been ridiculed and despised by the common lot who, because of their diminutive mental and moral caliber, could not appreciate the grandeur and the nobility of the characters and teachings of these who truly deserve the name of Christian. Well has one expressed the matter in the following lines--

"The few by whom high truth was recognized

Who foolishly their full hearts left unguarded

Revealing to the crowd their noble vision

Have always banished been crucified."

GOD--Divine Impossibilities

QUESTION--I heard a man the other day say that there are some things that God cannot do. Is that so or not?

ANSWER--In the very nature of things there are some things that it would be impossible for God, the great Creator, to do. Our infidel friends say that it would be impossible for God to create two hills without a valley; however, we believe this could easily be accomplished by putting one hill on top of the other.

The Bible itself tells of some things beyond the range of Divine possibilities. For instance, the Apostle Paul (Heb. 6:13) says that God could "swear by no other greater than Himself." Since the Lord God is the Supreme Being of the universe and none therefore greater than He, the truth of the Apostle's words is evident. Again we are informed that "He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). Because of His immutability or unchangeableness (Jam. 1:17) it would be impossible for the Lord God to deny Himself, or to do any wrong in any sense. The Divine character of Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power could never be altered or swayed in the slightest degree. This gives us confidence indeed that all of the Divine purposes will be accomplished exactly as prearranged from before the foundation of the earth. "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world." (Acts 15:18.)

GOD--His Love vs. Commands To Destroy

QUESTION--If God is a God of love, as the Bible tells us, how can we understand His command to the children of Israel to utterly destroy their enemies, men, women, and children? (B.R.)

ANSWER--The Land of Canaan belonged to the Israelites as it had been given to Abraham and promised to his seed as an everlasting possession. The Philistines, Amorites and others who inhabited the land at the time when Moses under Divine direction led the Israelites out of Egypt, were a semi-barbarous race whose sins and iniquities had come to the full. It was because they had become so depraved that the Lord saw that it would be best to destroy them. Let us suppose that a people, occupying the land of Canaan [Q780] today, were to become so degraded and corrupt that they were a menace to civilization, robbing and massacring innocent people, and in all ways being obnoxious both to themselves and to other nations. Would it be thought an unwise, unjust, or unloving arrangement for the Lord to cause their removal and entire destruction in order to make way for the establishment of the Israelites in their own land? Many of the prophecies of the Scriptures clearly indicate that we may expect within the next few years just such a development of affairs, and that the Israelites will be gathered back into their own country from the uttermost parts of the earth. (See Jer. 32:36-44.) Reverting to the question: we see women and children, young and old, dying off in multitudes every day with but very little evidence of the Lord's love in any direction. However, the Lord has arranged in His plan of salvation a time and a way when all the race shall be delivered from the death conditions--Isa. 35:8-10; Rev. 21:3-5.

GOD--His Love vs. Commands to Destroy Enemies

QUESTION--If God is a God of love as the Bible tells us; how can we understand His command to the Children of Israel to utterly destroy their enemies, men, women and children? (E.A.)

ANSWER--Four hundred years ago North America was a vast wilderness inhabited by roving bands of savages who warred with one another and practiced all kinds of barbarities. Today, in place of the scattered tribes of murderous Indians, there are millions of civilized and enlightened people who are engaged in developing the higher and nobler qualities of mind and heart and cultivating the arts and sciences and the various branches of industry. Which of these two arrangements is the best? Was the Lord unjust or unloving in overruling the affairs of earth so that the Indians should practically be destroyed root and branch in order to make way for civilization? We think not. The same conditions prevailed in the land of Canaan. The Philistines, Amorites, etc., who occupied the land were practically savages, as they engaged in all forms of idolatrous worship, offering up human sacrifices in connection therewith. It was because their wickedness and depravity had reached to such a stage that God, in His wisdom and justice, saw that it would be best to destroy them and to place in the land a people, who, under His instructions, attained to a high degree of civilization. When the Jews were about to enter the land the Lord established a system of laws with them with the assurance that if they obeyed the Law they would be marvelously blest, and if disobedient they would be severely punished.

GOD--"No Man Hath Seen" vs. "Ye... Have Seen My Father Also."

QUESTION--Can you explain these two passages of Scripture: John 1:18, "No man hath seen God at any time;" and John 14:9, "Ye that have seen me, have seen my Father also?" (L.M.)

ANSWER--The first expression should be understood in the concrete sense. No mortal being could see the Lord God [Q781] and live--"Whom no man hath seen, nor can see." The last expression, to be understood in harmony with the first, should be considered in the abstract. As it was impossible for the Lord's followers to actually see God, the Heavenly Father, the only way then in which they could see God was in the representative sense. Our Lord Jesus, fully and perfectly represented the Father. He was God manifested in the flesh. The Father's love, and mercy, justice, and wisdom, were all manifest in the Life and teachings of the Lord Jesus. Those then, who became acquainted with the Lord Jesus, were made acquainted with the Father. The Lord Jesus never claimed to be the Heavenly Father personally; but always taught that He was the Son of God. The Scriptures declare that God sent His only begotten Son into the world. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself in the same sense in which He will be "all in all" when the Son shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father at the close of Christ's millennial reign.--1 Cor. 15:17,28.

GOD--What is Meant by "Repented" Man's Creation

QUESTION--"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart; and the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth." If God is omniscient, knowing the end from the beginning, how could He REPENT of His course in creating man?

ANSWER--The word "repent" means "To change the mind, or course of conduct, on account of regret or dissatisfaction with what has occurred." The question then is, Did God change His mind (plan) or His course of conduct? We claim that, knowing the end from the beginning, God's mind could not be changed; hence "repent" in this text must signify change of conduct. That is, God did change His course of dealing with man because of man's wickedness, which grieved Him, but He did not change His mind or plans, because these plans had from the very first recognized the corrupting and degrading tendency of sin, and provided (in purpose of mind) the Lamb of God--"slain from the foundation of the world" -- as the redemption price. (Rev. 13:8; Rev. 17:8.)

GOD'S CARE--Fatherless and Widow

QUESTION--Please explain why the Scriptures refer to God's special care over the fatherless and the widow and says nothing about the widower and the motherless? It seems to me that where the wife and mother is taken away it is much sadder than where the husband and father is removed from the family circle.

ANSWER--In many places in the Scriptures the expression "fatherless," in the original language in which the Bible was written, has the significance of bereaved or orphans. The thought is that the Lord's special care and compassion are over the weak, helpless and the bereaved ones, and not that He has less consideration for the motherless [Q782] than for the fatherless. We read "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works. The Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous, and preserveth the stranger; He relieveth the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turneth upside down"--Psa. 145:9,10; Psa. 146:8,9. Again we read "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise." (Psa. 51:17.) All those who are mourning and sorrowful, who will draw nigh unto God through Christ, will be comforted whether they are motherless or fatherless; widowers or widows.

GOSPEL--Meaning of

QUESTION--Please explain what is meant by Preaching the Gospel, and what is the Gospel?

ANSWER--The word gospel signifies a message of glad tidings. Preaching the Gospel means proclaiming the good tidings, or massage of gladness, to others. When the Lord Jesus came He declared, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek." During the three and a half years of His ministry He preached the good news of the coming Kingdom and the blessings it is to bring to the human race. He commissioned His true followers to do the same thing, and those who have been telling others of the redemptive work of Christ and the blessings of His coming Kingdom have thus been preaching the Gospel. In these modern times the public press has become the most effective way of getting great truths before the people and the Gospel is being preached through the press wheresoever the glad tidings of Messiah's Kingdom is being published. From this it will be seen that much that is preached is mislabeled "Gospel." All sorts of bad tidings of great misery are many times improperly styled "Gospel."

HATRED--Of Unrighteousness and Injustice Proper

QUESTION--If hatred is not a virtue, why does it say in Eccl. 3:8 "There is a time to hate?" Why does Christ say in Luke 14:2 "If any man come to me and HATE not his father and mother, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple?" (F. W.)

ANSWER--Our Lord in all of His instructions to His followers continually admonished them to love one another, and not only this but that they were to love their enemies as well. (John 13:35; Mat. 5:43,44-46; 1 Pet. 2:23.) Therefore, it would not be consistent to think that the Lord would counsel His followers to HATE those that were near and dear to themselves, and towards whom there was every incentive to love and esteem. The Lord evidently used this word to impress the thought upon the minds of those who would be His followers, that the terms of discipleship are very rigid and exacting. In other words; none could become disciples of the Master unless they loved Him more than all earthly ties, or considerations. None can ever be recognized by the Lord as His follower unless they have taken the step to be obedient to the Divine will even though it [Q783] meant the loss of every valued object and the sacrifice of life itself! The thought conveyed in the expression found in Eccl. 3:8, is that there are times and seasons when it would be proper to "hate," or despise that which is contrary to the principles of righteousness and justice. All should hate injustice and be out of sympathy with those who oppress and injure the weak and helpless. Also, those who are in opposition to the Lord and His just laws and arrangements, and who wilfully go contrary thereto, should be righteously shunned and despised--"hated with a perfect hatred." --Psa. 139:21,22.

HEALINGS--BY the Faithless

QUESTION--Can you give some Scriptural proof that faith healing as it is practiced today is of the Adversary or the Evil One? I know that it cannot be of the Lord because there are some who are engaged in performing wonderful cures, as I happen to know personally and who are devoid of faith in the teachings of the Bible. For instance, a close relation of mine was raised from a death bed by the powers of one of these "healers" who in his teachings was denying the very foundation principles of the Scriptures. (A.N.)

ANSWER--There is no question but that many remarkable cures are effected by some who seemingly are able to exert an influence, that is beyond and above the natural powers of man. It is equally true that many of these healers make no professions as to Christianity. Their power then must be from an evil source, as the righteous Lord would not aid those who are not in harmony with Himself. In agreement with this thought we read in Mat. 7:22,23, that some would accomplish many wonderful works, even in the name of Christ, yet the Lord would not recognize them. After all, the Lord's followers are not to be known by their "great works"--"by their fruits ye shall know them." Mat. 7:20.


QUESTION--Somebody told me that Saint Peter must have a higher position than the Lord Jesus because St. Peter has the keys to heaven, whereas the Lord Jesus has the keys to hell. Where do we find this in he Bible and please explain? (W.P.M.)

ANSWER--A "key," in the symbolisms of the Scriptures, is representative of the opening power vested in the one who has been duly authorized to act, just as is sometimes expressed in the vernacular--"He holds the key to the situation." St. Peter was given two "keys" (Mat. 16:19), one of which he used on the day of Pentecost when he opened the way for the Jews to enter into the Kingdom by preaching the Gospel of Christ and the Kingdom (Acts 2:22-36.) Three thousand Jews entered in though this opened door (verse 41) on that very day. The second key was used three and one-half years later when St Peter opened up the way for the Gentiles to enter into the Kingdom, by preaching the Gospel to Cornelius who accepting the message, and believing, became the first Gentile convert to Christianity. (Acts 10:44,45.) In Rev. 1:18 the glorified Savior is represented as speaking, saying "I am He that liveth, [Q784] and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death." The Lord Jesus, by virtue of His death and resurrection, accomplished the redemption of the race of mankind from death and hell-- hades, the grave. Because He thus bought the race, He has the "keys," the opening power, to release all mankind from the great prison house of death and the tomb, as we read concerning the Lord Jesus--"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me...to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Isa. 61:1.

HELL--Did Christ Descend There?

QUESTION--Is it a Biblical fact that Christ descended into hell after His crucifixion and before His resurrection?

ANSWER--Many Christians are quite perplexed as to where the Lord Jesus was from the time of His crucifixion to the time of His resurrection. Some have the thought that He was away somewhere preaching to the spirits in prison (1 Pet. 3:19); some that He was with the thief in Paradise (Luke 23:43); some that He was in Heaven, and some that He was in a place of fire and brimstone called Hell. (Psa. 16:10; Acts 2:31.) However, the Bible does not leave us in doubt about the matter but plainly teaches that the Lord Jesus was in hell during the three days following the crucifixion. The hell of the Scriptures is not the hell of the creeds, but the condition of death, the grave. Jesus was in the tomb, the grave. He was dead, as the Bible affirms, and was raised the third day. See the following Scriptures and forget about the confusion of the creeds which in the main are unscriptural. (1 Cor. 15:3,4; 1 Cor.12:16; Acts 2:24; Rom. 6:4; 1 Pet. 1:21.) The Hebrew sheol the Greek word hades, and the English word hell all signify the same thing--the grave, the condition of the dead. All enlightened Bible Scholars and clergymen versed in the original languages of the Scriptures will acknowledge, if they are honest and unprejudiced, that there is not the slightest suggestion, in the original meaning of these words, of fire, brimstone and torment. We have not the space here to give an explanation of the Scriptures referred to at the beginning of this reply, but can assure all that these are in entire harmony with themselves, rightly understood, and with all the rest of the Scriptures which teach that our Lord was in the tomb for the three days preceding His resurrection.

HELL--Where? Who Created It?

QUESTION--Where is hell, and who created it? (I.N.J.)

ANSWER--The so-called "orthodox hell," of a vast furnace of fire and brimstone, manned by fire-proof devils with pitch forks in their hands, who are busily engaged in jabbing and tormenting the billions of poor unfortunates--all of the human race, with the exception of the few saints, who with much difficulty manage to squeeze through the pearly gates into the heavenly city--exists only in the feeble minds and perverted imaginations of those who have given heed to the "doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1) and [Q785] who have never thoughtfully studied the Scriptures. This "hell" was created in the Dark Ages of the past by corrupt and ignorant priests influenced by evil spirits who misrepresented and blasphemed the character of the Almighty God, who is wise and just, loving and merciful, as the Scriptures everywhere affirm. In the increasing light of our day, when the people are brushing the smoke and dust of the Ages of gloom from their eyes, it is clearly seen that "hell," in the Scriptures, is nothing more than the condition of death--the tomb. The Hebrew word sheol and the Greek hades from which the word hell is used in the English translations, have this significance. All go to hell--the grave--the death state, and will remain there until the resurrection. Adam created, or brought this "hell," or condition of death, upon the race by his disobedience. See Rom. 5:12.

HIGHWAY--Of Holiness, If Open and Plain, Why Confusion?

QUESTION--Is it true that the "Highway of Holiness" is opened now and that the way of salvation is so plain that a "wayfaring man though a fool shall not err therein" (Isa. 35:8-10)? If the way is so plain and clear and simple that a foolish person need make no mistake about it, then why is there so much confusion among the learned clergymen, Doctors of Divinity, etc., as to the proper methods of salvation, some teaching one thing and some another? As an honest skeptic and one seeking to know the way of salvation, can you direct me to this "Highway?"

ANSWER--We are not surprised that you have failed to find the "Highway." The Lord Jesus referring to the conditions of salvation during this present Gospel Age, declares that "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life and few there be that find it." As a matter of fact the Scriptures point out three ways: --"The broad way, leading to destruction," "The narrow way to life," and the "Highway of Holiness." (Mat. 7:13,14; Isa. 35:8,9.) It is very evident from the conditions which you mention, that the latter of these ways has not been in existence thus far, but as the Scriptures affirm, it will be opened up for the world at the time of our Lord's second coming. Then when Satan, that old "lion" (1 Pet. 5:8), is bound (Rev. 20:2), the Prophet's words shall be fulfilled--"No lion shall be there," and "the redeemed of the Lord (the world of mankind) shall go up thereon with everlasting joy and singing upon their heads, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

IGNORANCE--Will It Save Heathen?

QUESTION--What will become of the heathen? Will they be saved because of their ignorance?

ANSWER--If ignorance were a basis of salvation then all should have been left in ignorance, for then all would have been saved. And if the heathen are saved through ignorance then also all of the babes and children who have died before attaining years of discretion and knowledge, and therefore in ignorance--these likewise should be saved. What a great missionary Herod must have been when he slew so many of the infants of Bethlehem, for of course these were all [Q786] saved to Kingdom glory! And what a pity we did not all die as infants! Heaven would be a delightful place filled with heathen and infants! We are informed in the Scriptures that the heathen's trial time for eternal life will be after the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, when not only the heathen but all the world of mankind shall be fully enlightened as to the way of salvation; when the way is so plain that a wayfaring man, though unlearned, shall not err. The babes developing to maturity will likewise have their opportunity of salvation, for eternal life is to be given to those only who exercise faith and obedience. Those who disobey, after full opportunity has been received, shall die the "second death."

IMMORTALITY--Do Men Possess Now?

QUESTION--I read in 1 Tim. 6:16, that the Apostle Paul speaking of God says--"Who only hath immortality." In the same chapter, 19th verse, the brethren are exhorted to good works, "that they may lay hold on eternal life." And the only place I find the word "immortal" is in 1 Tim. 1:17, which also refers to God, and in Rom. 6:23, the Apostle says--"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Then again Rom. 2:6,7, shows that the gift has to be sought for--"By patient continuance in well-doing." Therefore if immortality or eternal life is the gift of God as a reward to those who faithfully fulfill His desires, from whence is the authority derived by those who teach that man is now in possession of immortal life?

ANSWER--This is a question that is frequently asked these days by those who are not content to accept a mere assertion without a "thus saith the Lord." There is but one statement to be found in the Scriptures which could be construed as teaching that man was in any sense immortal; that he would not and that he could not die. This is found in the third chapter of Genesis, the fourth verse. However, we suggest that before any one accepts this as due authority they read the passage and note carefully who it was that made the statement!

IMMORTALITY--Now, Or Future Only?

QUESTION--I read in 1 Tim. 6:16, that the Apostle Paul speaking of God says--"Who only hath immortality." In the same chapter, 19th verse, the brethren are exhorted to good works, "that they may lay hold on eternal life." And the only place I find the word "immortal" is in 1 Tim. 1:17, which also refers to God, and in Rom. 6:23, the Apostle says--"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Then again Rom. 2:6,7, shows that the gift has to be sought for--"By patient continuance in well-doing." Therefore if immortality or eternal life is the gift of God as a reward to those who faithfully fulfill His desires, from whence is the authority derived by those who teach that man is now in possession of immortal life?

ANSWER--This is a question that is frequently asked these days by those who are not content to accept a mere assertion without a "thus saith the Lord." There is but one statement [Q787] to be found in the Scriptures which could be construed as teaching that man was in any sense immortal; that he would not and that he could not die. This is found in the third chapter of Genesis, the fourth verse. However, we suggest that before any one accepts this as due authority they read the passage and note carefully who it was that made the statement!


QUESTION--Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven" (Mark 10:14). Does this not mean that there will be infants in heaven?

ANSWER--There is a simplicity and gentleness about a little child which all good people appreciate. The Master was not so overwhelmed with His great work as to be unable to realize the desire of the Jewish mothers to have Him give their little ones a blessing. Therefore, when the disciples would spare Him the annoyance, He rebuked them and, calling for the little ones, He blessed them. The statement, "For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven," must not, however, be understood to imply that the Lord is electing or selecting such little children for His joint-heirs in the Kingdom; we must interpret Scripture by Scripture. We must remember His words that only "overcomers" can share with Him in the Kingdom (Rev. 2:7,11,17,26; Rev 3:5,12,21); and again, we are to remember His declaration that those who would be His disciples must take up their cross and follow Him. Such things could not be true of infants. Heart purity and simplicity are necessary for the Kingdom, but more than these are required. The text of the question should be understood in harmony with our Master's words, "Except ye . . . become as little children ye shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven" (Mat. 18:3). The emphasis lies upon the word "as" in the sense of like. Only the child-like and trustful disciples can experience God's highest favor--a share in His Kingdom.


QUESTION--How and to what extent were the Apostles inspired?

ANSWER--There are some at the present day who believe that modern authors, teachers and poets are as fully inspired as were the Apostles. Even some clergymen apparently have the thought that they themselves are as authentic and reliable authorities, and should be regarded as such. If this view is the right one, then inspiration is a cheap article, and wholly unreliable when we reflect upon the many conflicting theories and doctrines that have been promulgated by modern theological authorities. The Apostle Peter, in referring to the inspiration of the Sacred Writers, declares that "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Pet. 1:21.) That is to say, God's holy power or influence operating upon the minds of the Prophets caused them to speak and to write of future things in relationship to the Divine purposes, which even they themselves did not understand. (Dan. 12:8,9.) The Apostles likewise were caused to write of [Q788] matters that would be necessary to the spiritual interests and welfare of the Lord's people in after times. (2 Tim. 3:16,17.) Plenary inspiration has not existed since the days of our Lord and the Apostles, and is not needed, as the Scriptures are complete and sufficient of themselves.

IRRESPONSIBLES--What Becomes of Them?

QUESTION--We know what becomes of the obedient and disobedient, but there is another class, which really cannot be called obedient nor yet disobedient. I mean the irresponsible, and they who love this present world and have not even a desire to know what God requires of them, and which, in my opinion, form the vast majority of mankind even in this enlightened age (so-called). What becomes of them? (P.E.I.)

ANSWER--The answering of this question involves the consideration of the doctrines of "Election" and "Free Grace," both clearly taught in the scriptures, as all Bible Scholars recognize. It is only within recent years that the beautiful harmony existing between these two doctrines has been recognized. From many Scriptures, of which we will only cite a few, it will be seen that the entire Christian Era, from the time of our Lord Jesus' first advent down to the time of His second coming, is the period in which the "Election" takes place, the election or selection of those who shall constitute the Bride, the Church of Christ. (See 1 Pet. 1:2; Eph. 1:4; 2 Pet. 1:10; Acts 15:14-18.) When, at the close of this Christian Age, the work of election is consummated, then God's free grace will be extended to all the remainder of mankind, through the selected class, who were elected to be kings and priests unto God and with their Lord Jesus to reign for the space of a thousand years over the nations of the earth for the purpose of lifting them up out of sin and death to human perfection and eternal life. Now is the Church's opportunity to make her calling and election sure; then will be the world's opportunity of receiving God's free grace. Election now and Free Grace then. See Acts 15:14-18; Rev. 22:17; Acts 3:19-21.

ISRAEL--Judgments, Repentance and Reconciliation

QUESTION--Can you explain the first three verses of the sixth chapter of Hosea? (Hos 6:1-3)

ANSWER--These verses, doubtless, refer to Israel's judgments and their final repentance and reconciliation. The three days we understand to be the days of the larger week, one thousand years to each day. In this larger week the seventh day will be the seventh thousand-year period--the Sabbath of rest from sin and Satan. Recognizing time from this standpoint and applying to each thousand years the parallel day of the week, we find that, as over four thousand years had passed and the fifth thousand had begun at the time the Jews had experienced the judgments of the Lord in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, it was therefore at a time corresponding to the fifth day of the lesser week, namely Thursday, the first day of the three mentioned. Friday the second day, and Saturday (the seventh day Sabbath) the third, in which the Israelites will be revived and raised up to Divine favor and life. [Q789] It is to be early in the morning of this third day--the thousand years of Messiah's reign--that "all Israel shall be saved"- -Rom. 11:26. Then will be the seasons of refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord as indicated in the "rain" mentioned in the third verse and referred to by the Apostle Peter--Acts 3:19-21.

JERUSALEM--Literal or Symbolic?

QUESTION--Will the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2) be a literal city of gold and gems, and will it come floating down through the sky and locate somewhere on the earth? If so, how, when, and where?

ANSWER--We are aware that quite a number seem to hold the thought of an actual city, with all of its walls, buildings, towers and turrets, coming down from above and locating in the land of Palestine. Those who have this thought should try to bear in mind that much of the Bible is written in highly symbolic or figurative language. The dimensions of this city are given in furlongs in this same chapter. If we reduce these to miles, we have for the dimensions fifteen hundred miles in length and breadth and height. A city of this magnitude could scarcely be placed in the small land of Palestine, which measures less than two hundred miles in its greatest length. By noting the expressions of the 9th verse, it will become apparent to all that not a literal city is referred to, but a symbolic one is meant. The angel showed St. John "The Bride, the Lamb's wife," in symbol, as a beautiful city. Surely no one would so far ignore the faculties of intelligence and reason as to say that the Bride of Christ is to be a literal city. This Bride is the same one represented as saying, in almost the closing words of the Bible, "Come and partake of the waters of life freely." The Bride is the Church class composed of the faithful followers of Christ, of whom the Apostle Paul speaks, saying: "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2).

JERUSALEM--"New"--Literal or Spiritual?

QUESTION--What is meant by the New Jerusalem referred to in Rev. 21 and 22 chapters? (M.M.)

ANSWER--A close reading of these chapters will convince any student that a literal city was certainly not meant. In symbolic prophecy a "city" signifies a religious government backed by power and authority. Thus the "holy city, the New Jerusalem," is the symbol used to represent the established Kingdom of God, the overcomers of the Gospel Church exalted and reigning in glory. The Church is also, and in the same connection, represented as a woman, "the bride, the Lamb's wife," in power and glory, and backed by the power and authority of Christ, her husband. "And there came unto me one of the seven angels... saying Come hither, I will shew thee the bride the Lamb's wife. And he . .. shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem." (Rev. 21:9,10.) It is evident that we should "spiritualize" this narrative because St. John himself did so, for he says "And he carried me away in spirit." (Rev. 21:10.) That is to say in a spiritual sense he viewed [Q790] the wonders of this great city, and not actually, in a literal sense. The dimensions of the city are given in furlongs, which, if reduced to miles would mean that it measured 1,500 miles in length, and breadth, and height! Surely no such literal city will ever be established on this little globe of ours. Recognizing the meaning of the symbols we have a beautiful picture representing the gradual establishment of the Divine Kingdom of the Heavens on the earth, when the Church, the Lamb's wife, is ruling in royal majesty with Christ, "the Prince of Peace."

JERUSALEM--Why Rebuild?

QUESTION--Will Jerusalem ever be rebuilt and for what purpose?

ANSWER--The most remarkable movement ever occurring amongst the Jewish people since the time of the destruction of their capital city, Jerusalem, is now in process of development, and is known as "The Zionist Movement." The primary object of this movement is the establishment of the Jews in their own land under a government of their own. This would mean the rebuilding of the city in the event of the success of this movement. There are many prophecies which show that the Jews shall return to Divine favor and shall again be established in their own country, and that the City of Jerusalem will be rebuilt. We cite but one--Jer. 31:27-40. The clear intimation of the teachings of the Scriptures is that Jerusalem will become the Capital City of the world, "for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem," "And many people shall go and say, Come ye and let us go up to the mountain (Kingdom) of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob: and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths." (Isa. 2:3.) For a remarkable confirmation of this, in the words of the New Testament, see Acts 15:16,17.

JESUS--Date of Birth

QUESTION--Is there any positive proof that our Lord Jesus was born on Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, and if so where can it be found? (A.S.)

ANSWER--There is nothing to prove that Christ was born December 25th, but the evidence is clear and strong that the time of His birth was about October 1st. It is generally recognized that Jesus was crucified on Friday, April 3d, A.D. 33. The fact that His crucifixion occurred at the close of the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, and that this date rarely falls on Friday, but did so in the year A.D. 33 substantiates that date so thoroughly even Usher, who adopted B.C. 4 as the date of Jesus' birth, was forced to admit that His crucifixion was A.D. 33. Our Lord was thirty years of age when He began His ministry, and it is clear that His ministry was for three and a half years only. This generally conceded fact is proved by Daniel's prophecy (Dan. 9:25-27) concerning Christ's cutting off in the middle of the seventieth week of Israel's favor. The "seventy weeks" (A day for a year--490 days, or 490 years--Eze. 4:6) dating from 454 B.C. terminated A.D. 36. In the "midst" of that last week of seven years, the "seventieth [Q791] week," Christ was "cut off" --crucified--April 3d, A.D. 33. As the Lord Jesus was thirty-three and a half years old when He died, we have only to measure back that length of time to the date of His death to ascertain the date of His birth, which would be about Oct. 3d, B.C. 2. It is certain that the midwinter date, December 25th, does not well agree with the statement of the Scriptures, that at the time of our Lord's birth the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks.

JESUS--Seeming Discrepancy of Genealogy

QUESTION--I find in Matthew and Luke what purport to be the genealogies of Christ. Matthew gives His ancestry back to Abraham; Luke goes back to Adam. Between Christ and David, Matthew gives 27 generations, and Luke gives 42; and none of the names in these two lists are the same. Will you please explain this seeming discrepancy?

ANSWER--Our Lord Jesus became related to the human family by taking our nature through His mother Mary. Mary's genealogy, as traced by Luke, leads back to David through his son Nathan. (Luke 3:23.) (Joseph is here styled "the son of Heli," that is, the son of Eli, Mary's father, by marriage, or legally; or as we would say, son-in- law of Eli. By birth, Joseph was the son of Jacob, as stated in Matt. 1:16), while Joseph's genealogy, as given by Matthew, traces also back to David through his son Solomon. (Matt. 1:6-16.) Joseph having accepted Mary as his wife, and adopted Jesus, her son, as though He were his own son, this adoption would entitle Jesus to reckon Joseph's genealogy; but such a tracing back to the family of David was not necessary, because His mother came also of David, by another line. Thus the seeming discrepancy is due to the fact that Luke gives Mary's genealogy while Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph. The difference in the number of generations from David to Christ need not be considered as remarkable. It would be remarkable had they been the same.

JEWS--Gathering As Bird Under Wings

QUESTION--Would you kindly explain the 37th and 38th verses of Matthew 23 where the Lord said "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and killest them which are sent unto thee how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a bird gathers her brood under her wing, but ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate?" (H.B.P)

ANSWER--The Savior standing upon the Mt. of Olives and gazing out upon the Holy City, Jerusalem, gave expression to these words with a heart filled with conflicting emotions. For three and one-half years He had been laying down His life for the Jewish people in preaching to them the wonderful tidings of the Kingdom of God. He had healed the sick, comforted the sorrowing and the afflicted, and even raised the dead in some instances. Now, on this sad day, after having ridden into the city in triumph, and being rejected by the nation, through their representatives, the Scribes and Pharisees; in sorrow and with tears, He declared that they as a nation were cast off from Divine [Q792] favor and no longer recognized as the chosen people of God. How true to the declaration of the Lord are the facts of history as outlined in the secular annals of the race! From that moment they declined in favor, and disaster after disaster came upon them until the nation was conquered by the Roman arms, and they as a people were scattered abroad throughout the whole earth to he persecuted, oppressed, and slaughtered by the Gentiles. The Jew is the miracle of history; "the man without a country." The Lord Jesus, in prophetic vision, foresaw all the long centuries of afflictions that would come upon them, and in His sympathy and love, grieved for them, and gave expression to His love by saying "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a bird gathers her brood under her wings, but ye would not!" Corrected Translation.

JEWS--Return to Palestine

QUESTION--Does the Bible teach a return of the Jews to Palestine, and is that country large enough for all of Abraham's descendants? (F.W.)

ANSWER--The Bible answer is YES to both questions: (a) "I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and will bring you again into the land of Israel." "Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God." "And they shall say, this land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden" (Eze. 37:12; Eze. 36:27-35). (b) What is known as the land of Palestine is but a very small part of the promised land, which is to stretch from the Nile to the Euphrates (Gen. 15:18), and appears to include Arabia as well as parts of Egypt and the Soudan, an area equal to the half of Europe. Much of this is now desert land, but "the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." (Isa. 35:1.) Thus there will be ample space and abundant provision made for the Israelites in the promised land--promised for an everlasting possession to Abraham and his descendants--when God's favor will have returned to them as foretold by the Prophets--Rom. 11:25-27.

JEWS--Why Called "Chosen People?"

QUESTION--Why were the Jews called "God's chosen people?" Were the ancient Jews different from the modern ones?

ANSWER--Abraham was the father of the Jewish people. God made promise to him, saying, "In thy Seed all the families of the earth shall he blessed." Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, had twelve sons, who became the head of the twelve tribes of Israel, or Jews. God made a covenant with His people, saying to them: "If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation" (Exo. 19:5,6). For more than eighteen centuries God's dealings were with this people exclusively, as he said through His prophet, "Ye only have I known of all the families of the earth" (Amos 3:2). Time after time [Q793] God reiterated His promise that the Messiah should come to them, and when Jesus came the masses of the Jews were not heeding God's promises: being led by the Clergy class, themselves negligent of the promises, therefore blind, as Jesus said, "Blind leaders of the blind," they rejected Jesus Christ and were cast off from God's favor (Matt. 23:37-39). The words of our Lord clearly imply that God's favor will again return to this people; He said, "Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." The Apostles point out that God there began to turn his favor to the Gentiles, and when the requisite number have been selected from among these to constitute the Kingdom class, as promised, then God's favor will again be shown to the Jews as a people (See Rom. 11:1-5 and 25-28).

JOB--Real or Allegorical?

QUESTION--Was Job a real personage, or only an allegorical character?

ANSWER--We believe Job to have been a real person--a man. He is so referred to in the following Scriptures: Job 1:1; Eze. 14:14-20; James 5:11. This does not alter the fact, however, that a great allegorical lesson is taught by Job's experiences. As a whole, his life represented the experiences of the human family in the loss of everything. Job lost his children, friends, home, health, the affections of his wife--all --and he was nigh unto destruction in the tomb. Then came the turning point. He was restored to Divine favor and to all the blessings which he had formerly enjoyed, and had more abundance than he ever had before. This pictures the experiences of the human race. Adam, in Eden, was perfect, joyful and rich in life and a perfect home. He lost all of these, being driven from Eden and compelled to battle with the sterile soil of the earth. By and by, when the "Restitution of all things, spoken by Jehovah through His holy prophets," shall have come to the world, the human race will likewise be restored to Divine favor and receive greater blessings than ever before experienced.

JUDGMENT--God's Impartial

QUESTION--Will you kindly explain and harmonize Romans 2nd chapter, 7th to 10the verses inclusive? (W.H.H.)

ANSWER--In the 6th verse the Apostle says :--"Who will render to every man according to his deeds"--at the time when God's judgments will be manifested as stated in the 5th verse. Coming to the seventh verse, he points out that those who patiently continue in well doing, seeking for glory, honor, and immortality shall receive eternal life, at the time indicated in the preceding two verses. And, at that time, those who will persist in wrongdoing, shall be punished by experiencing Divine indignation and wrath. But those who, when the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, will comply with the principles of righteousness shall experience Divine favor and blessings, both Jews and Gentiles. This presentation of the matter is in harmony with the general teachings of the Scriptures which show that the Church of Christ, now being selected out [Q794] from the nations of the earth, shall receive "glory, honor, and immortality"; while the world of mankind--the righteous and obedient--whose trial for eternal life will follow the glorification of the Church, shall receive the "glory, honor, and peace" of perfect human conditions.

JUDGMENT--What Is "Doomsday?"

QUESTION--What is meant by the term "Doomsday?" (A.B.C.)

ANSWER--It is that last dreadful day in the which (according to the antiquated theories of an obsolete theological formation) the Lord will return to the earth, and take His seat upon a great white throne, and then all nations will be gathered before Him, for judgment. As the judgments proceed, the mountains and the rocks will come tumbling down, and the sea and all the waves will roar under the agitations of a mighty storm. About this time a terrible earthquake will shake things up so severely that all the things that can be shaken will be removed. In connection with these terrifying phenomena of nature, there will be the sounding of the last trump, and tremendous voices will be heard in the air. Amidst this deafening uproar, while "the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds" is transpiring, the 20,000,000,000 and more of the human race will be judged, and all within the limitations of a twenty-four hour day. When the final summing up takes place, the Great Judge will invite the few saints, "the little flock," to enter into the conditions of bliss, while to the vast majority of the race He will issue the command to depart into an eternity of torment in fire and brimstone. With the pronouncement of the final sentence of doom, a terrible fire will break forth; the elements shall melt with fervent heat; and the heavens and earth being on fire shall be dissolved! This lurid picture of the judgment time was evidently formed by some one with highly developed imaginative powers, who gathered together a number of symbolic and figurative expressions from the Scriptures with which to produce this amusing sketch of "doomsday," which has served to frighten some good and bad children nearly to death!

JUDGMENT DAY--When and How Long?

QUESTION--What is meant by the "Judgment Day," and when will it be? Is it to be a 24 hour day?

ANSWER--The term "Judgment" includes a hearing or trial and the final conclusion or result of that trial. Not all are judged at once. To illustrate, the Church is now on trial or judgment, which trial or judgment has been in progress since Pentecost. The faithful in this judgment shall be rewarded, as we read, "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." (Rev. 2:10.) The Judgment Day as applied to the world in general is entirely a different matter. It is manifest that the whole world could not be tried and judged within 24 hours. The Apostle says, "God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:31). Again we read: "That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years" (2 Peter 3:8). The judgment of the world by Christ will cover a period of one thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6). [Q795] That the judgment of the world had not come in the Apostle Paul's day is clearly shown by his words in the Scripture above noted (Acts 17:31). This and other Scriptures clearly show that Christ is to be the Judge of the world when he sets up his kingdom at his second coming. In Matthew 25:31-46 our Lord gave a description of the judgment of the world, clearly pointing out that it would take place at His second appearing. This is conclusive proof that the world's judgment is not yet in progress.

JUDGMENTS--Israel's--Hosea 6:1-3

QUESTION--Can you explain the first three verses of the sixth chapter of Hosea?

ANSWER--These verses, doubtless, refer to Israel's judgments and their final repentance and reconciliation. The three days we understand to be the days of the larger week, one thousand years to each day. In this larger week the seventh day will be the seventh thousand-year period--the Sabbath of rest from sin and Satan. Recognizing time from this standpoint and applying to each thousand years the parallel day of the week--we find that, as over four thousand years had passed and the fifth thousand had begun at the time the Jews had experienced the judgments of the Lord in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, it was therefore at a time corresponding to the fifth day of the lesser week, namely Thursday, the first day of the three mentioned. Friday the second day, and Saturday (the seventh-day Sabbath) the third, in which the Israelites will be revived and raised up to Divine favor and life. It is to be early in the morning of this third day--the thousand years of Messiah's reign--that "All Israel shall be saved"--Rom. 11:26. Then will be the seasons of refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord as indicated in the "rain" mentioned in the third verse and referred to by the Apostle Peter--Acts 3:19-21.

KINGDOM--"Keys" Given to Peter.

QUESTION--Will the Apostle Peter be the doorkeeper in heaven, since Jesus said to him: "I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven?" (Matt. 24:19.)

ANSWER--The "Kingdom" in this Scripture represents those who become true followers of Jesus. "Keys" are a symbol of power to open. To the Apostle Peter was delegated the privilege and authority of first opening the message and work of the Gospel to the Jews, and later to the Gentiles. He did the opening work of the New Dispensation, first to the Jews at Pentecost, at which time as we read, "Peter stood up with the eleven"; he took the initiative, he opened the Gospel invitation to the Jews and the other Apostles followed him. There he used one key. More than three years later he used the other key to open the message of the Kingdom of heaven to the Gentiles when the Lord sent him to preach the Gospel to Cornelius who was the first Gentile to accept the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore the first to become a member of the Kingdom of heaven class. Thus we see that the Apostle Peter long ago used the keys referred to in this Scripture. There will be no occasion ever to use them again. Those who reach heaven will not pass through literal doors.