Pittsburgh Gazette, Oct. 28, 1906


Pastor C T Russell of Allegheny, Pa., preached twice here today. His afternoon topic was his celebrated cure for infidelity, "To Hell and Back." The morning topic was the "Second Coming of Christ," from the text, "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." (Matt. 25:31.) We quote as follows:

The entire race of Adam has gone down into the great prison house of death as a penalty for sin, but that in God's due time, in mercy, he has sent forth his Son, who, 1800 years ago, presented himself as a sacrifice for man's sins, on account of which that original sin which overwhelmed the race in death will be completely cancelled, and the Redeemer will become the deliverer to call forth all that are in their graves. We saw that in the interim between Jesus' death at Calvary and the time for blessing the world in general through the millennial kingdom, for which we are taught to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven," a special work was being done God was electing or selecting from amongst the condemned race a "little flock," peculiarly zealous and obedient, who through faith and obedience, under divine guidance, have been developing the character likeness of Christ, to the intent that these may constitute a special class to be exalted with their Redeemer in his kingdom. These have the promise that suffering with him now, through faithfulness to righteousness, will mean for them exaltation to joint-heirship with him in his great kingdom shortly to be established for the blessing of the world the millennial kingdom.

We invite your attention at this time to the fact that the scriptures consistently throughout, hold up before us as [HGL336] the kingdom of Christ the hope of the world for its uplift and blessing and show us that it is not to be established by the conversion of the world by the preaching of the gospel, but is to be established by the second coming of Christ, not as a man, not as a sacrificer again, but clothed with power to overthrow sin and Satan and to grant the needed help to every son and daughter of Adam to rise out of present sin and death conditions. This is the great social uplift which the world begins to realize is necessary, but which it is unable to accomplish for itself. The preaching of the gospel was not designed to convert the world, but merely to call out of the world a comparatively small number who would have the hearing ear, the attitude of faith and obedience, of readiness to receive the Lord's instruction and to follow him at the cost of self-sacrifice. Totally different agencies will be necessary for the conversion of the world as God has purposed it and outlined it in the Bible. More than eighteen centuries have passed and there are today only a comparatively few real followers of the Lamb who have taken up their cross to follow him. The remainder, as we have already seen, the majority of whom never even heard of the Savior, are none of them in eternal torment, but all of them in the great prison house of death. They must wait there until the elect number of the church has been called and chosen and tested and proven faithful and glorified with the Lord their head. Then the kingdom will come in power and great glory, and then the blessing of all the families of the earth will ensue. This is the story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and no other book presents such a hope, and no other writings covering centuries show the same consistency and unity and oneness. To those who see the matter from the scriptural standpoint this becomes one of the surest evidences that the Bible is indeed Divinely inspired, written by holy men of old, who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit and not according to their own vain imaginings. Let us delve into the matter more fully.


Throughout the old testament the prophecies of the coming glory of Messiah and the blessedness of his reign commingle with other prophecies which refer to him as the Lamb before her shearers dumb, with transgressors in his death, bruised for our iniquities. The two thoughts are distinctly there, but purposely so misarranged that the Jews could not clearly understand them. They might have expected the glory first, and by some calamity the sufferings afterward. The visions of the prophets were not intended by the Lord to be understood until the time of their fulfillment. The Apostle Peter tells us that even the angels did not understand them. He says, "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what or what manner of time the spirit of Christ did signify, when it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and the glory which should follow. Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." 1 Pet. 1:10-12

If it was not for the angels to know in advance neither was it for the Jewish people to know in advance, and of course the heathen nations had no conception whatever of such matters. The test came upon the Jewish nation, therefore, with all the greater subtlety, only the Israelites indeed being in that humble attitude of heart that was ready for instruction on the subject, and to learn that their expectations of immediate glory were to be disappointed; that first the Son of man must suffer many things and be crucified, that he might thus attest his faithfulness to the Father's will in the redemption of the purchased possession, and thus demonstrate to mankind his love, and ultimately enter into the glories of his kingdom, which shall yet bless every creature in the same proportion as he was injured by the fall through the first Adam.

Another feature of the Divine plan which was not understood prior to our Lord's first advent is what the apostle calls the "hidden mystery," which is "Christ in you the hope of glory." It had not been surmised in olden times that the Messiah was to be composed of many members, of which Jesus would be the head, the Lord. The long interim between our Lord's sufferings at Calvary and his entering upon the glories of his kingdom at the dawning of the Millennial age is by the apostles marked out as the period in which the faithful, the "very elect," will walk in the footsteps of Jesus, suffering for the brethren's sake and for their loyalty as members of the body to him as their head. Thus the whole gospel age has been the time for the calling, the testing and the perfecting of the church, which is the body of Christ its preparation to enter into the glorious joys of the Lord. And the second coming of Christ is appropriately deferred until all the members of the church, his body, his Bride, have had their necessary lessons in discipline and obedience and been accepted and approved by him.


As our Lord at his first advent broke to the little company of his disciples the information respecting his death and his departure to heaven and the necessity for these things, he did it gradually for, like all Jews, their minds and hearts had grasped the glories of the coming kingdom to such an extent that they had overlooked the testimony respecting the sufferings of Christ, which must precede. Hence our Lord assured them that he would come again and receive them unto himself, that they might be sharers of his glory, saying, "If I go away I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also." (John 14:3.) "It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you." (John 16:7.) When he talked to them they were not yet spirit begotten. For this begetting they must wait until Pentecost, and hence our Lord could not explain to them as he would have done had they been spirit begotten he must of necessity speak to them as natural men, without going into details, which without the begetting of the spirit would have been foolish to them. The further details he left for a further revelation, assuring them that when the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, would come, he would through the Comforter bring all things to their remembrance which he had previously stated, intimating that they would then be able to [HGL337] understand the deeper things of the Divine plan. As he said again, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now." John 16:12

Notwithstanding all that our Lord told the disciples respecting his death, and his resurrection on the third day, their minds were so fixed upon the usual Jewish sentiments on the subject of the Messiah's glory that they could not receive the matter. Only a few days before our Lord's crucifixion, Peter, the spokesman of the twelve, had remonstrated with Jesus saying, "Far be it from thee, Lord; these things shall not happen unto you." (Matt. 16:22.) No wonder then that after his resurrection it was necessary for our Lord to be with the disciples for a while to set them straight in the matter, appearing for this purpose in various forms, as did the angels in times preceding, creating bodies of flesh and bones with clothing for the various occasions, thus to indicate two things first, that he was alive from the dead; and, second, that he was changed and no longer a human or flesh being, but now a spirit being, with all the powers of spirit beings.

When talking to Peter and his companion on the way to Emmaus, our Lord said, "O slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken." They believed part of what the prophets had spoken, but they had neglected other parts which they should take heed to and apply. Our Lord continued, "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to have entered into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:25-27.) The essence or spirit of those expositions of the prophecies have come down to us through the apostles, and it is our privilege through the guidance of the spirit to have the deepest and clearest possible views of the same.


Going back to the writings of Moses, we find that he clearly delineated the sufferings of Christ as well as the glories that were to follow. Thus he taught the first advent of Christ as the great sin-offering, and the second coming of Christ as the glorious prophet, priest and king through whom the blessings should be bestowed. We see this in the typical sacrifices of the typical day of atonement; the priest first offered the bullock, which represented himself and constituted the great foundation sacrifice for sins; and secondly he offered the goat, which represented the church associated with him because accepted by him as members of his body. The antitype of that atonement day was this entire

gospel age, in which we have the sufferings of Christ completed first, the sufferings of our dear Redeemer; secondly, the sufferings of the church, his body, made holy and acceptable through his merit.

With the close of the atonement day in the type the high priest, having made the atonement, came forth to the people clothed in all the glorious garments of his priesthood, representative of the exceeding great and precious promises of God fulfilled in him, and representative of the power and great glory and honor conferred upon Jesus and indirectly upon the church his body. As the high priest then lifted up his hands and blessed the people who were prone in the dust, so here in the antitype, in the near future, at the conclusion of this day of atonement, when the great high priest, Jesus, and the church, the members of his body, his bride class, shall be clothed upon with the glory, honor and immortality of the divine nature and heavenly powers, there will be a manifestation of the Messiah as the prophet, priest and king in the blessing of the multitudes of earth who are now groveling in the dust, in mental, moral and physical decrepitude and ignominy. As in the type, after the blessing of the people they arose and gave a shout, so in the antitype, when the blessing of the Lord shall have reached all the people during the Millennial age, the result will be the uplifting of the world, and great shouting of praise to him who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood and to the Father of all, the great author of the plan of salvation.


"Behold, the Lord cometh with myriads of his holy ones." (Jude 14.) We have no original record of Enoch's prophecy; we merely have the apostle's quotation of it; but this is quite sufficient. It demonstrates to us the unity of God's book, the oneness of the message which God gave through his various prophets in so long a time. For be it remembered that from Enoch's time to the time when the apostle quoted his words approvingly a period of over two thousand years had elapsed, during which this same message had been reiterated in types, in symbols and in plain statements. How evidently the one spirit of God inspired and directed all these as his mouthpieces. What an internal evidence is here respecting the inspiration of the Bible. And it is in this, as in other matters, unique, separate and distinct from all other religious books. The writers of the Bible did not copy in any manner or degree from the heathen. No heathen books would present a Messiah who would first suffer and redeem the people and then, after having selected from amongst the redeemed ones a little flock to be his special joint-heirs, would come again and complete his work by blessing all the families of the earth. The Bible alone tells this wonderful story with consistency and persistency from beginning to end.

This was the theme of all the apostles. They continually exhorted the church, saying, "Be patient, brethren, the coming of the Lord draweth nigh," "Avenge not yourselves" leave all your trials and difficulties and the rewards of your enemies in the hands of the Lord. You are his, your interests are his, the whole work is his; allow him in his own time and way to accomplish the Divine will. You cannot thwart it if you would, but endeavoring to do so would hinder you from enjoying the peace of God, which he intends you may enjoy even under trials and difficulties of this present time.


Although the scriptures have much to say respecting the second coming of the Lord, the errors which crept into the nominal church during the dark ages have so vitiated these blessed declarations in the minds of the Lord's people, so diluted them, so rendered them meaningless, that a comparatively small number realized that all the hopes of the church as well as all the hopes of the world according to the scriptures waited for and are based upon the second coming of him who redeemed us with his precious blood. [HGL338] Of the comparatively few who have learned how important a place the second advent of our Lord has in the Divine revelation, the majority apparently have been sidetracked by a total misconception of the manner of the second advent. They have taken too low, too early, too fleshly a view of the matter. They are expecting Messiah to come again in the flesh to sit upon an earthly throne, and that his church will likewise be associated in the earthly glory, and that the whole world will look to an earthly Jerusalem as its capital, in much the same way as we look to Washington City as the capital of this nation, or as the French look to Paris as their capital city and seat of government. This wrong view of the second coming of our Lord, this misconception of the power and great glory, putting it upon an earthly plane, is responsible in great measure for the repulsion against the doctrine of the second coming of the Lord in the minds of a good many spiritually minded people. These reason correctly that such expectations are contrary to the general tenor of the scriptures, which inquire, "Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect in the flesh?" Gal. 3:3

On the contrary, we know that the apostle's testimony is that since his resurrection our Lord is "that spirit" (2 Cor. 3:17), and that when he comes again in power and great glory it will not be in the flesh but in spiritual glory and power, resembling that which the apostle himself caught a glimpse of when on the way to Damascus, and under the influence of which he was smitten to the ground a brightness above the sun at noonday. The apostle assures the church that before the kingdom conditions and glories could be entered upon, we must all be "changed," changed from human to spirit conditions, from human or earthly nature to the perfection of spirit nature- "to be partakers of the Divine nature," as the Apostle Peter points out. (2 Pet. 1:4.) That this is what the apostle really meant is evident from his subsequent statement that we must all be changed, because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven." 1 Cor. 15:50, 51


The Apostle Paul adds his testimony contradicting the thought that in the kingdom the Lord will be as he was in the flesh, and that his church will be as they are now in the flesh, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." (John 3:2). From this it is evident that we shall be different from what we are now, and evident also that our Lord will be very different from what he was. He took the flesh for the suffering of death and not to keep it eternally. The taking of it was a mere expedient necessary for our redemption. The apostle declares that having accomplished the work which the Father gave him to do, our Lord was highly exalted, far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named. He is now, therefore, the Lord of glory, the express image of the Father's person, a spirit being of the very highest order, of the Divine nature.

In harmony with this is the Apostle John's further statement that although it doth not yet appear what we shall be, we do know that when he shall appear we shall be like him. His change took place in the resurrection, for he was "put to death in the flesh and quickened in spirit." (1 Pet. 3:18.) Our change, as his church, his body, will take place, so far as those who sleep in Jesus are concerned, in the moment of their resurrection, for they, as the apostle declares, shall be raised incorruptible sown in weakness, raised in power; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown an animal body, raised a spiritual body. Putting all these things together, then, we see that the change of the living and the resurrection of the dead members of the body of Christ will bring all the church of the Lord to the same glorious spirit condition that he has had since he was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. We shall b e like him and although we do not know what that condition is, although it is beyond our comprehension, we are satisfied, for we shall be like him.

The second advent, then, means first of all that in the due time, at the end of this age, our glorious Redeemer will return to earth to take charge of its affairs and interests, not again assuming an earthly body, a fleshly body, for he does not come to die but to reign. He therefore comes a spirit being, invisible to mankind as angels are invisible, and the power and glory that he will have will not be an outward shining brightness, but such a power and glory as he illustrated at his first advent in the miracle which he performed, as we read, "These things Jesus did and manifested forth his glory." (John 2:11.) The glory of the Lord will not consist in a bright and shining personal appearance but in the glorious work which, invisible to the world, he will perform in the exercise of the power of God, in the restraining of sin, in the blessing and enlightenment of the world, in the arrangement of the various processes by which the weaknesses and imperfections of the fall will pass from the world and all the willing and obedient be uplifted mentally, morally and physically from the degradation and sin of the present time to perfection and God-likeness. The entire Millennial age is devoted to this work of putting down sin and every evil thing opposed to righteousness, and the uplifting of the willing and obedient of the race. "The restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:19, 21


Flaming fire is a figure of speech of the same order as when the apostle says to the church, "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial that shall try you." (1 Pet. 4:12.) Our fiery trials are not literal fires, nor should we understand the flaming fire in which our Lord will be revealed to be a literal flaming fire. To those who have the time and inclination to study into the nature of this flaming fire we have much more to say than would be possible at this time. Such have or may have, at comparatively little cost, a full explanation of this subject in one of our Bible studies, entitled, "The Day of Vengeance," sold at cost price by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, or supplied free to those unable to purchase. Briefly let us say that flaming fire in which Emmanual will make known to the world his second advent and the establishment of his kingdom is nothing short of the great time of trouble in which all the institutions of this present evil world will go down and give place to the age to come, the Millennial age, the Millennial kingdom.

Another statement respecting the manifestation of the Lord's glory at that time is that he comes to be glorified in his holy ones, and to be admired in all them that will believe during that Millennial day. (2 Thess. 1:10.) The [HGL339] invisible kingdom, composed of Christ and the elect church, invisible to men but all powerful for the suppression and punishment of evil doing and for the blessing and rewarding of well doing, will very speedily manifest who are the holy ones who love righteousness and hate iniquity. And the rewarding and blessing of these will be illustrations to the remainder of the world of how they also may learn righteousness, and that, failing to respond to this great Teacher, they shall be destroyed from amongst the people in the second death. Acts 3:23.

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